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Coupe de France: Valenciennes in the semi-finals, end of the adventure for Rouen

Despite an equalizer on a penalty at the last minute, Rouen (National) finally surrendered to Valenciennes during their third successive penalty shootout (1-1, 4-2 tab), Wednesday in the quarter-final of the Coupe de France.

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Coupe de France: Valenciennes in the semi-finals, end of the adventure for Rouen

Despite an equalizer on a penalty at the last minute, Rouen (National) finally surrendered to Valenciennes during their third successive penalty shootout (1-1, 4-2 tab), Wednesday in the quarter-final of the Coupe de France. The Normans, who had successively eliminated the defending champion Toulouse (3-3, 12-11 tab) and Monaco (1-1, 6-5 tab), by succeeding 18 of their 19 attempts, cracked twice this time , Jean Louchet pushing back that of Mustapha Benzia, before Zana Allee found the crossbar.

The epilogue is cruel for the FCR which had been very attractive in the two previous rounds but which, this time, never seemed able to ignite this game. An observation which owes a lot to the very serious and controlled game of the Valenciennes, last in the Ligue 2 standings and almost condemned to relegation, with their 15 points behind maintenance.

But it must be recognized that the countless Norman technical inaccuracies nipped many of their offensives in the bud. And the rare times when the locals managed to threaten the opposing cages, Louchet, the usual No.2 of the Northerners, shone. He notably made an incredible save in the 40th minute, on his line, repelling with his thigh and hand a shot from Valentin Sanson at the far post, after a deflection of Mathieu Mion's head went past his goal, missed by Sofyane Bouzamoucha's diving header two meters from the empty goals. On the other hand, we cannot say that the Hainaut players offered an offensive festival either.

But they alternated between quick transitions and set-play combinations much better. After a first alert on a strike from Siriné Doucouré with a rebound, well repelled by Leonard Aggoune (12th), Valenciennes found the fault on an absolutely perfect cross from Souleymane Basse cut at six meters by Mathias Oyewusi, who smashed the ball from the header for the opening score (0-1, 26th). In the 87th minute, on a ball recovered near the area by Doucouré, the Malian again saw his shot boxed by Aggoune to keep his team alive.

And who knows what went through Knockaert's mind when, in the 90th minute after a corner was pushed aside by his defense, he attempted a sombrero and a turn rather than clearing, but he ended up causing a penalty by hitting Bouzamoucha rather than the ball. On Damien Loppy's penalty, although taken very poorly and initially repelled by Louchet, the defense did not follow, letting the attacker take over to equalize (1-1, 90 1). Despite this, it is Valenciennes who join Lyon in the last four for their 4th semi-final in the competition, the last dating back 54 years.

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