Coupe de France Preview: Underdogs take centre stage
By Football News
The underdogs have the chance to take centre stage in the last 32 of the Coupe de France, which begins on Tuesday.
Traditionally the competition has been seen as a platform for the lesser lights of French football to rise to national prominence, with third-tier Quevilly the most recent side to showcase that fact after their run to the final in 2012.
This year, the likes of Cannes - who shocked Saint-Etienne in the last round - and Plabennec have been hitting the headlines, but the two fourth-tier sides, who will meet on Thursday, are not the lowest-ranked teams left in the competition.
Sete are leaders of Group E in the Championnat de France level two (CFA 2), an amateur league, and have already won three Coupe de France matches without conceding a goal on their run to the last 32 this season.
Next up for them is a home clash against CFA strugglers Jura Sud on Tuesday.
The draw did produce some mouthwatering ties for some of the so-called minnows, while some of the big guns of French football will be keen to avoid an upset.
CFA outfit Monts d'Or Azergues set to welcome big-spending Ligue 1 club Monaco, while defending champions Bordeaux have been handed a testing trip to FA Ile Rousse Monticello and five-time winners Lyon head to Yzeure on Wednesday.
Ligue 2 Dijon take to the road to meet 2005 victors Auxerre on Thursday, while CFA 2 side Iris Club de Croix welcome UEFA Champions League hopefuls Lille.
There will be plenty of attention on top-flight leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who welcome Montpellier in an all-Ligue 1 fixture and the tie of the round - although whether coach Laurent Blanc opts to rest some of his first-team stars with PSG still chasing honours on multiple fronts remains to be seen.
Marseille have won a record 10 Coupe de France crowns, and they tackle Nice at Stade Velodrome on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Boulogne face Rennes, Lens take on Bastia, Moulins have a showdown with Toulouse and Ajaccio host Caen.
Fourth-tier Concarneau have a home tie against Guingamp, Bastia face Ligue 2 Niort and Sochaux head to Angers.