Versailles and Nice qualify for the semi-finals

The Versaillese celebrate their qualification for the semi-finals of the French Football Cup, Wednesday February 9, in Périgueux (Dordogne).

After its big victory against OM (4-1), Nice will find Versailles, a National 2 team which beat Bergerac on penalties (1-1, 5 to 4) for a totally unprecedented semi-final, which will take place, at the very beginning of March, in a stadium that remains to be defined.

It will be necessary “respect our adversary”, warned the president of Nice, Jean-Pierre Rivère, to AFP, as soon as the draw was revealed after the superb qualification of his team against an outclassed Marseille team. Monaco, winner of Amiens (2-0), will move on the lawn of the winner of Nantes-Bastia, disputed this Thursday evening.

Versailles wins the duel of amateur clubs

Versailles (National 2) won its ticket to the semi-finals of the Coupe de France by dismissing Bergerac (N2) in the duel of amateur clubs at the Francis-Rongiéras stadium, in Périgueux. On hostile, bumpy ground, Youssef Chibhi’s team steered their boat perfectly to imitate Calais (finalist in 2000), Montceau-les-Mines (2007), Quevilly (2010) and Rumilly (2021), the only teams in the 4and level to have reached this stage of the competition.

A smooth curling shot from Inza Diarrassouba (14and minute), the first goal conceded by Bergerac in the competition, had allowed the Yvelinois to dream of an easy qualification in this clash of ambitious amateurs, who brought honor to football from below. More solid and willingly accepting to be dominated, the Versailles team delivered an almost perfect match away from home, without panicking and repelling the often disorderly attacks from Erwan Lannuzel’s men.

The last ten minutes, reduced to ten after the expulsion of Christopher Ibayi (79and), further increased the local pressure, rewarded at the last minute by Axel Tressens (90and), shifted to the left, which crossed a shot on the returning post from Dan Delaunay, who had not been worried until then. Dordognais defender Kevin Mingoua failed in the penalty shootout.

Nice dominates OM

After the serious overflows of August 22, 2021, with the interruption of the meeting after the invasion of the field and the blows given by certain Nice supporters, the return of Marseille to Nice promised to be electric. It was, but only on the pitch, sounding like the beginning of a reconciliation between the game and the supporters.

Read also OL-OM: the match definitively stopped after a bottle throw on Dimitri Payet

In front of coach Didier Deschamps and his assistant Guy Stephan, Nice had a great game. Christophe Galtier tactically beat Jorge Sampaoli. And above all, the attacking trio of the Aiglons, Gouiri-Delort-Kluivert, was impressive.

Yet it was OM who opened the scoring, in the 3and minute, with an own goal from defender Melvin Bard, following a strike from Marseille Cengiz Under. Despite this twist of fate, the Nice side remained in his game. Combative, he was the real left winger of the Aiglons, who started with three defensive midfielders, and a solid fulcrum for Amine Gouiri, poison of the Olympian rearguard.

Nice's Justin Kluivert celebrates his goal against Marseille, in the quarter-finals of the French Football Cup, at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice (Alpes Maritimes), February 9, 2022.

The latter, after passing Saliba quickly, made a mischievous little bridge over Belardi, before equalizing and making a stadium roar that was waiting for it (1-1, 11and). Neither Galtier’s men nor the Nice public had time to gamble. Put back on the right track, Nice then continued to attack. Justin Kluivert was skillful. His pricked header ended a perfect collective action with Gouiri and Delort (2-1, 29and).

One minute after a goal by Marseille Cédric Bakambu disallowed for offside in the 48thand minute, Justin Kluivert discouraged his opponents with a cross laser strike from afar (3-1, 49and). Before serving, on a counter, a nugget to Delort, who took the opportunity to complete his fine statistics (4-1, 62and) with a goal and two assists.

Well helped by his attacking trio, Galtier won the tactical battle against Sampaoli. After having taken out Paris-Saint-Germain and then OM, OGC Nice is now dreaming of a first final since its victory in 1997.

The World with AFP


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