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Coupe de France | Quarter-Finals
Feb 29, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Stade Charles Massot

Le Puy
1 - 3

Adinany (61')
Dief (49'), Diakhabi (53'), Piechocki (82')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Theate (9'), Bourigeaud (49' pen., 82')
Matusiwa (90+1')

Preview: Le Puy F43 Auvergne vs. Rennes - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Le Puy F43 Auvergne vs. Rennes - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Coupe de France clash between Le Puy F43 Auvergne and Rennes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The lowest-ranked team left in the 2023-24 Coupe de France, fourth-tier side Le Puy F43 Auvergne endeavour to pull off an extraordinary quarter-final giant killing of Rennes on Thursday.

The hosts' humble home of Stade Charles Massot will welcome the Ligue 1 high-flyers, who have some knockout wrongs to right in the wake of their Europa League elimination at the hands of AC Milan.

Match preview

Previously reaching the last 16 of the Coupe de France in the 2020-21 campaign, Championnat National 2 competitors Le Puy have gone one better just three years down the line to pen another page of club history, reaching the quarter-finals of France's premier competition for the first time ever.

In their current form, Le Puy have only been in existence for 15 years - Thursday's hosts merged with near neighbours AS Taulhac in 2009, 106 years after their original inauguration - and their magical cup run has certainly helped to ease the pain of last year's relegation from the third tier.

Avoiding the competition's big boys - at least up until now - has no doubt played its part in Le Puy's progression, although a pair of Ligue 2 outfits in Dunkerque and Stade Lavallois have fallen to the supremacy of Roland Vieira's side, who entered the 2023-24 Coupe de France in the second round.

Each of Le Puy's five Coupe de France successes so far in the current campaign has seen Vieira's men notch at least two goals, including a dramatic 2-1 beating of Lavallois in the last 16, where Jules Meyer's penalty deep into second-half injury time prolonged their astonishing adventure.

The fourth-tier side also occupy second place in Group A of the Championnat National 2 - one point behind leaders Aubagne in the solitary promotion place - thanks to their 2-0 win over Olympique d'Ales on Friday night, extending their stellar unbeaten sequence in all tournaments to 16 matches and ensuring that morale stores are full to the brim ahead of Thursday's glamour occasion.

Le Puy have no doubt earned Rennes' respect, but any niceties between the two outfits will soon cease to exist once the first whistle is blown at Stade Charles Massot, where Les Rouges et Noir incumbent Julien Stephan continues his pursuit of Coupe de France crown number two.

Previously guiding the top-flight outfit to glory in the 2018-19 season during his first spell in charge, Stephan has come back with a bang since re-taking the reins from Bruno Genesio, masterminding knockout wins over Guingamp, Marseille and Sochaux - the latter being a 6-1 obliteration - since the turn of the year.

As well as the significant chasm in the French footballing pyramid, history also favours Rennes this week, as the three-time winners of the Coupe de France have progressed from each of their last six quarter-final ties since being bested by Nantes at this juncture 20 years ago.

Navigating their way past AC Milan in the Europa League proved too tall an order, but Stephan's men extended their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to eight matches with a praiseworthy 1-1 draw at the home of runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, where a last-gasp Goncalo Ramos penalty cancelled out Amine Gouiri's fine solo strike.

With several teams above them faltering in the latest round of fixtures, seventh-placed Rennes continue to close the gap on the European spots in the Ligue 1 table and are still capable of returning to the continent via Coupe de France stardom, but Stephan's men must still put in the hard yards on Thursday lest they risk a humiliating exit.

Le Puy F43 Auvergne Coupe de France form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Le Puy F43 Auvergne form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Rennes Coupe de France form:

Rennes form (all competitions):

Team News

In spite of the intimidating threat that Rennes are sure to pose, Le Puy boss Vieira ought not to deviate from the well-balanced 4-4-2 setup which has served the hosts well so far in the Coupe de France.

The fourth-tier unit did not suffer any injury blows in their last-16 beating of Lavallois, where Meyer's heroic brace took the former Clermont youngster up to five goals in the current tournament; only Kylian Mbappe and Rodez AF attacker Kilian Corredor boast more with six apiece.

Comoros striker Bryan Adinany - who plied his trade in the Rennes academy until 2018 - has two goals of his own in the cup this season and should be given the nod to partner Meyer at the tip of the hosts' offence.

Meanwhile, there has been no movement in the Rennes treatment room over the past few days, as Enzo Le Fee (hamstring) and Fabian Rieder (foot) remain out of contention but should return to the first-team picture at some point next month.

Stephan rang the changes for the visit of PSG after his side's exertions against Milan in the Europa League - demoting Martin Terrier and hat-trick-scoring midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud to the bench alongside key defenders Arthur Theate and Adrien Truffert - and it would not be a complete shock to see the Rennes coach keep some of his star men in reserve on Thursday either.

Second-choice goalkeeper Gauthier Gallon will earn promotion to the first XI over Steve Mandanda, though, while young strikers Bertug Yildirim and Mathis Lambourde should earn valuable first-team minutes too.

Le Puy F43 Auvergne possible starting lineup:
Carvalho; Diakhabi, Civet, Ayessa, Beneddine; Iva, Xhemo, Akkal, Karamoko; Meyer, Adinany

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gallon; G. Doue, Belocian, Omari, Seidu; Blas, D. Doue, Bourigeaud, Terrier; Yildirim, Gouiri

We say: Le Puy F43 Auvergne 0-5 Rennes

As inspiring as Le Puy's Coupe de France journey has been, Vieira's men are yet to test their mettle against top-tier opposition, and the fourth-tier charges could therefore be in for a harsh reality check on Thursday.

Even an out-of-sorts Rennes side would have little trouble putting the hosts to the sword, but with Stephan's men impressing in Ligue 1 and also hitting Sochaux for six in the last 16, things could get ugly for Le Puy on Thursday as Les Rouges et Noir surge into the semis.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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