Valenciennes in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France for the first time since 1970

The last time Valenciennes reached the semi-finals of the Coupe de France, Georges Pompidou inaugurated the A6 at the wheel of a Renault 16 and the minimum wage had just been created. It’s been 54 years since the Hainaut club last reached the final four and it’s been done since this Wednesday. Winners on the lawn of Rouen (1-1, 4-2 on the tabs), which plays a division below but had already brought down Monaco (1-1, 6-5 on the tabs, February 8) and Toulouse, the holder of the title (3-3, 12-11 in the tabs) during this campaign, Ahmed Kantari’s players continue their enchanted parenthesis, they who seem destined for relegation to the National at the end of the season.

The Valenciennes owe their qualification to a rather improbable hero. Unemployed last summer, spotted by VA during a friendly match against the UNFP, goalkeeper Jean Louchet released Abdeljalil Sahloune’s attempt before seeing Zana Allée hit his crossbar. The former Herbiers player had already performed a miracle at the end of the first period. On the second beat of a corner, Valentin Sanson was absolutely alone three meters away and managed to straighten the ball, but Louchet, with an improbable mid-thigh, mid-hand save (40th) had prevented the equalizer.

An improbable penalty conceded by Valenciennes in the 90th minute

Because VA opened the scoring thanks to its winter recruit Mathias Oyewusi, another unlikely hero of this epic. Recruited in Lithuania, the Nigerian scored with a powerful header after receiving a perfect cross from Souleymane Basse (26th).

The Kantari players then left the ball to the Rouennais but resisted without being really worried, until the 90th minute and an improbable penalty conceded by Anthony Knockaert who attempted a sombrero kick to free himself and caught an opponent’s foot in the process. . Damien Loppy transformed the penalty into two stages and took everyone to penalties. Louchet then did the job and Makabi Lilepo finished it to send his team to paradise.


It’s been 73 years since Valenciennes last played in a Coupe de France final. In 1951, the northern club lost against Strasbourg (0-3).


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