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Coupe de France Preview: Underdogs take centre stage
Jan 19, 2014 6:33 PM GMT
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.