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The Coupe de France semi-finals take place next Tuesday 7th of April and Wednesday 8th of April, and there are two excellent games in store. French Champions PSG were drawn against the other market leaders, St Etienne, while current holders Guingamp were handed a tricky tie away at Ligue 2 side Auxerre. We’re previewing both games, and we’ll give you our best bets as the four sides battle it out for a place in the final.
PSG v St Etienne
Wednesday 8th April 8pm
Although it’s the second semi-final, we’re starting our preview with the heavyweight match-up between PSG and St Etienne. The home side are on course for a domestic treble, and are still competing in the Champions League after seeing off the challenge of Chelsea. They might be a bit of a short price for this one, but the French giants still look good value to progress to the final. St Etienne hearts must have sank when they were drawn against PSG, and they would have fancied their chances against either of the other two teams left in the competition. It’s a tough task for them, particularly away from home, but they’re 5th in Ligue 1, are in decent form and it’s a one-off game so they will want to believe that anything can happen.
Route to the Semi-final
PSG overcame Montpellier in their first game in the competition back in January, winning 3-0. They followed that up with a 2-1 win over Bordeaux in the next round, and a 2-0 victory over Nantes after that set up a quarter-final clash against Monaco. The two mega-rich rivals of the French League did battle back at the start of March, and PSG prevailed 2-0 with David Luiz and Edison Cavani on the score sheet. They’ve done it the hard way by beating four Ligue 1 teams, but they’ve won each tie at the first time of asking, without having to resort to extra-time.
St Etienne’s first involvement in the competition saw them draw 0-0 at home to Nancy, but they squeezed through with a goal in extra-time. In the next round they traveled away to Tours, and after an incredible 3-3 draw, they eventually got through on penalties. The next round saw them away again, this time at lower-league Red Star, and they needed a late own goal to overcome the ten men of Red Star. Their quarter-final was yet another away trip, this time to Boulogne, and once again they needed penalties to get through, after a 1-1 draw.
Starting with St Etienne, they’re 5th in Ligue 1 and on course for Europa League qualification. They’ve won their last three games in a row, and they’ve only lost once in nine. Their away form is particularly good, and it’s only six defeats in the last 25 games on the road which is a consistent record over a long period of time.
PSG are imperious, as you’d expect, and the recent 3-2 defeat to Bordeaux was their first blip in sixteen matches. More impressive is their home record, where they’ve been held to draws just five times in the last 25 games, and they’ve won the other 20.
In the head-to-head PSG come out on top in a big way and they beat St Etienne 1-0 on their own ground in the Coupe de la Ligue back in January. PSG have also won the last four meetings without conceding a goal, and it’s very difficult to look beyond a home win here.
Auxerre v Guingamp
Tuesday 7th April 8pm
The other tie could be a much more even affair, with Ligue 2 side Auxerre having home advantage over Ligue 1 Guingamp. The winners of last year’s competition, Guingamp have had a long arduous campaign after a long stint in the Europa League. They acquitted themselves well on the continent, and were only recently knocked out by the odds goal against Dynamo Kiev. That European campaign has probably affected their domestic form a little, and they’re currently 10th in Ligue 1. They would love a repeat of last season, qualifying for Europe via the Cup, but Auxerre will make life very difficult for them. Auxerre are 10th in Ligue 2, but they’re only seven points off the top three, so won’t have given up on promotion just yet, and they will be a tough nut to crack on Tuesday night.
Route to the Semi-final
Auxerre beat Dinsheim 3-0 in their first Coupe de France tie back in November, and followed it up with a 4-0 win at Sarraguemine. Successive 1-0 wins over Strasbourg and Jura Sud were followed by a victory on penalties over Le Poire Sur Vie. They needed penalties again to overcome Brest in the quarter-final, to set up this tie with Guingamp.
The visitors have had a slightly shorter route by virtue of their Ligue 1 status, and their first involvement in the competition was a 3-0 win over Dinan Lehon back in January. They beat Chateauroux 2-0 in the next round, before going on to draw 1-1 with Yzeure and needing two extra-time goals to get through. That set up a quarter-final against non-league Concarneau – a side that they met in last year’s competition – and they were headed for another 1-1 draw before a last-minute free kick took them to this semi-final.
Auxerre have only lost three times in their last 20 matches, and will be bang up for this game. Guingamp have lost 4 of their last 7 games, but over a longer period, it’s only six defeats in 20 matches. There’s not much in the way of recent head-to-heads, but Auxerre won the last meeting 2-1 in 2013.
This is going to be a very tight match, and the value call is on the draw. Both sides have needed extra-time in previous rounds, and this one could easily go the same way.
French Cup Semi Finals, Tuesday 7th & Wednesday 8th April