French Fourth Tier Side Make Coupe De France History

French fourth-tier side Le Puy made the headlines last season when their 1-0 victory over Nice cost Lucien Favre his job. 

On that occasion, the minnows were in the third tier of the French game, and despite their cup heroics, they were relegated at the end of the season. They might have dropped into the Championnat National 2, but their fans have plenty to cheer. They’re currently second in the Group A table, just a point behind the leaders, and last night, they made cup history once again.

They’ve already performed a giant-killing act this season. They despatched Dunkerque in the round of 32, winning 2-1 against the struggling Ligue 2 side. That set them up with a round of 16 tie against Laval, fourth in Ligue 2 and aiming for promotion.

Jules Meyer handed them a 1-0 lead after 25 minutes of the tie, giving the 3,000 supporters hope for another big night. Their illustrious opponents, backed by around 5o travelling supporters who made the 800-mile round trip, rarely threatened, and the home side had the best of the chances.

On 85 minutes, Laval got their lifeline. Striker Malik Tchokounté took advantage of a free kick that the home side couldn’t clear and smashed the visitor’s only shot on goal into the net. Laval, who themselves were giant killers in the last round, looked to have salvaged something from the game.

With five minutes of injury time having passed, Nicolas Pays was tripped in the area and dramatically, the referee pointed to the spot. The pressure of the big moment fell on Meyer, who scored a brace in an early round against FC Chaponnay-Marennes. He made no mistake from the spot, sending Le Puy into a historic quarter-final game.

Who could the minnows meet in the next round? Top-flight sides Paris St Germain, Lyon, Nice, Strasbourg and Rennes are all through, as are Ligue 2 outfit Valenciennes. FC Rouen of the third tier host Monaco tonight to decide the final place in the quarter-finals.

Site Opinion

The magic of the cup is alive and well. On a night when the big story could have been Saint Preist, who were holding Valenciennes for much of their tie, it was Le Puy who came up with the headlines.

Whoever they get in the next round, it will be a huge occasion. The hope will be Paris St Germain and the big names they bring. However, if Rouen do shock Monaco, what price on a third-tier v fourth-tier tie, with a huge semi-final place at stake for the winner?


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