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Le Puy-Rennes: Exemplary Theate, the Auvergnats (almost) believed in it... the tops and the flops


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Le Puy-Rennes: Exemplary Theate, the Auvergnats (almost) believed in it... the tops and the flops


Some could have taken this match against a 4th division team lightly, not Arthur Theate, who led his team to victory in this quarter-final won 3-1 by Stade Rennais. From the warm-up, the Belgian put on the leader's costume, encouraging his teammates as if it were a European Cup match. And on the pitch, he lived up to his words, opening the score from the start. In the 8th minute of play, the defender wanted more than everyone from a corner and scored with an angry header, chilling Geoffroy-Guichard in passing. The rest of the game, he set an example defensively, but also in recovery thanks to precise passes, which often launched Rennes' attacks. Bourigeaud wore the armband, but Theate was no less captain than him.

At Geoffroy-Guichard in front of more than 30,000 spectators, the Chaudron was almost full (41,965 seats). Players and supporters alike, everyone was pumped up for the feat, the first ingredient to overturn mountains. Despite the two-goal advantage for Rennais, the Auvergnats did not weaken and pushed the reds and blacks until the key moment of their evening. After pushing for many minutes, their moment arrived. Adinany is launched into the area and adjusts Gallon with a dive (61st) Geoffroy-Guichard explodes, Le Puy did it, they managed to miss against a Ligue 1 team. Unfortunately, that will not be enough to get the 'impossible.


The score is a good reflection of the reality of this meeting. There was a difference in level, but it was not as big as expected. The locals fought until the end, and they had a few scoring opportunities, especially in the first half. Meyer, Beneddine, Akkal, all three had goal balls, and each time, they missed their moves, as if they were surprised to find themselves in a scoring situation. The volleys from Beneddine and Akkal were not correctly executed, and Meyer's long shots too rarely found the target. Each time, there was room to do better. The regrets are equal to the immense challenge. Despite everything, the Ponots come out with their heads held high.

Even if the National 2 residents showed good things, even if they stood up to Stade Rennais, there was not a shadow of a doubt. From the draw, Puy was not spoiled. They could have afforded the match of their lives against Mbappé's PSG, or dream of a semi-final in the event of a more affordable quarter, against Valenciennes, Strasbourg or Rouen. But instead they drew the second European team still in contention, arguably the worst possible scenario. And it was confirmed on the pitch, with Theate opening the scoring in the 9th minute. Still behind, the Auvergnats were unable to lead, or even equalize and believe in a penalty shootout. A cruel match for a team which gave everything, without seeing any hope of qualifying. Without excelling, the Bretons did the job, and were not moved enough to be really worried, the logic was respected. The Ponots were so close to Rennes, but so far from victory.

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