Rennes crash back to earth
Rennes crashed out of the French Cup in the round of 16 on Tuesday night, 1-0 at the hands of CFA (D4) side Quevilly. Meanwhile Paris scraped through 1-0 in a tense encounter with Vesoul, Boulogne ended Guingamp's Cup defence by the same margin and Sochaux trounced Beauvais 4-1 to advance to the quarter-finals.
After defeating Bordeaux in style 4-2 on Saturday night, Rennes were in high spirits and firm favourites to advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of CFA (D4) side Quevilly.
But in the upset of the round Quevilly, ranked a humble ninth in the CFA’s Group D, produced an accomplished and committed display to take the scalp of Ligue 1’s eighth-ranked side in perhaps the club’s greatest moment since reaching the final of the French Cup in… 1927.
The Norman outfit caught the Rennes defence by surprise one minute shy of half time to open the scoring and, despite a full-strength attacking line-up featuring internationals Jimmy Briand (France), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) and Ismaël Bagoura (Guinea), Rennes couldn’t break down the amateur defence.
Now out of both cups, Frédéric Antonetti’s men will have to seek European qualification through a top-seven finish in the league.
Vesoul 0-1 Paris
Meanwhile Paris put their current league troubles behind them, continuing their winning ways in the French Cup with a 1-0 win in a heated affair away to CFA (D4) side Vesoul to advance to the quarter-finals.
Played in the snow and on a synthetic pitch, the match began well for Paris with Ludovic Giuly striking early (15’) but Vesoul absolutely refused to lie down and accept defeat.
The tense struggle between the sides boiled over in the 71st minute when Benin international Stéphane Sessegnon was sent off for retaliation while his opponent Cédric Paul saw red for simulation, but the men from the capital held on for a win that will no doubt be a huge relief to embattled coach Antoine Kombouaré.
Boulogne 1-0 Guingamp
Boulogne had the luxury of playing at home against reigning French Cup holders Guingamp (Ligue 2) and made the most of it, dominating the visitors but failing to finish off any of their chances until Alexandre Cuvillier scored the only goal of the game with a vicious 20-metre drive just after the hour mark.
After their exploits in the competition last season, Guingamp have a reputation for giant-killing ways, but on this occasion Boulogne proved too well organised and committed to allow the club struggling against relegation from Ligue 2 a chance of getting into the game.
Sochaux 4-1 Beauvais
Sochaux made no mistake at home to National (D3) outfit Beauvais, a first-half brace from Marvin Martin (14’, 28’) setting the tone before Nicolas Maurice-Belay and Yassin Mikari, returned from international duties with Tunisia at AFCON, widened the gap in the second half.
Despite pulling one back form the pot in the 43rd minute, Beauvais were never really in contention and Sochaux, who were playing their fourth match in ten days, extended their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions as they advanced to the quarter-finals of the competition they won in 2007.