Wednesday, February 26, 2020

French Cup: Saint-Etienne wins against Epinal

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Epinal defender David Luvualu (left) and Saint-Etienne defender William Salib (right), February 13, 2020 at Marcel-Picot stadium. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP

It was the last quarterfinal poster for the Coupe de France. Thursday, February 13, Saint-Etienne suffered but joined Rennes in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France by defeating the Vosges team (2-1), Thursday in Nancy.

At the Marcel-Picot stadium, the Spinaliens failed to repeat the exploit achieved in the previous round against Lille on their lawn at La Colombière (2-1). Led at half-time, as against Losc, Xavier Collin’s men this time did not have the resources to reverse the trend. And it's not for lack of trying.

The Vosges people still displayed an admirable face and raised doubts of the Stéphanois who had to fight to join the semi-finals, where they will receive Rennes, the defending champion, at the beginning of March.

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Aggression and determination

Denis Bouanga (37e) and Mahdi Camara (58e) had placed ASSE on the road to success, but a penalty obtained and transformed by Jean-Philippe Krasso (62e), double scorer against Lille, kept Epinal in the game until the end.

As in the previous round where they had surprised the Lille people by their aggressiveness and their determination, the Spinaliens started the meeting with beating drum and imposed a pressing which greatly hampered Saint-Etienne.

The SAS bluntly played its chance on each occasion: thus, on Nicolas Borodine's free kicks, Christopher Makengo did not fit his head (12e), then Jean-Philippe Krasso missed his attempt to go back acrobatic (28e).

Cold efficiency

Mistreated, the Greens then demonstrated a cold efficiency shortly before half-time: after a ball lost by Souleymane Sangaré, Franck Honorat shifted at the entrance to the Bouanga area, which found the opposite skylight of a superb coiled strike (0-1, 37e).

On the return from the locker room, the Vosgiens resumed their offensives, but they were surprised: on a center of Debuchy, Camara chained a control of the chest and a strike which came to stay flush with the right post (0-2 , 58e).

Saint-Etienne thought he had done the hard part … but that was without counting on the formidable state of mind of the amateur players, who never gave up and reduced the score from the penalty spot by Krasso, who ignited Picot (1- 2, 62e).

Carried by the public, the SAS continued to push: thus Krasso attempted a distant strike (84e), then Mickael Biron was narrowly taken over by Fofana (86e). The Spinaliens have multiplied corners and centers in the Forézian area in the last minutes, but to no avail.

The semi-finals of the Coupe de France are scheduled for Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 March. They will therefore oppose Rennes to Saint-Etienne and Lyon to Paris-Saint-Germain.

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