National: Habib Beye and Red Star can widen the gap

Will Red Star widen the gap further? This Monday evening (6:30 p.m.), the Ile-de-France residents play the 20th match of their National season against one of the surprises of the Coupe de France, Rouen. Well ahead of the championship, with five points ahead of Niort, despite two games less, Habib Beye’s men can continue to assert their domination over the 17 other teams, and take another step forward towards accession to League 2.

Despite the Normans’ 13th place, the task still looks complicated for the Red Star. Because the Rouennais have proven that they are capable of bringing down big teams. In the Coupe de France, they first eliminated Toulouse after an interminable penalty shootout, after still scoring three goals. On February 8, the Normans achieved a new feat by beating Monaco, again on penalties. Their adventure could still last as they face Valenciennes in the quarter-final.

In the league, however, the promoted side are on a tricky run, with two defeats against Nîmes and Versailles and a draw at Orléans in the last three meetings. Conversely, the Red Star is still as efficient as ever. After a slight setback at Sochaux (2-2), the Ile-de-France residents resumed their march forward against a direct competitor: Martigues (2-0).

Habib Beye, however, refuses to see himself as champion already. “We want to be National champion but to say that it is done with 15 days to go would be a lack of respect for our opponents and the work ethic that we have set for ourselves in this group,” declared the coach after his team’s success against Martigues. However, he could take another important step this Monday.


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