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Ligue 2
May 21, 2024 at 7.30pm UK
Stade Paul Lignon

Rodez AF
2 - 2
Paris FC

Rodez AF win 3-2 on penalties
Danger (8' pen.), Corredor (33')
Younoussa (90+4'), Mambo (90+4')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Dicko (4'), Dabila (90+6')
Mbow (37'), Kolodziejczak (70'), Riou (70'), Camara (89')
Mbow (48')

Preview: Rodez AF vs. Paris FC - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Rodez AF vs. Paris FC - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Ligue 2 clash between Rodez AF and Paris FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

For the right to meet Saint-Etienne in the Ligue 2 playoff final, fourth-placed Rodez AF and fifth-placed Paris FC will do battle on Tuesday night.

The upcoming fixture is just one of three hurdles that both sides would have to clear in order to progress to the top flight, as the 16th-placed Ligue 1 side will then await for the ultimate prize.

Match preview

As champions Auxerre and second-placed Angers sailed off into the Ligue 1 sunset, and third-placed Saint-Etienne earned an immediate bye to the second hurdle, Rodez AF and Paris have another obstacle to traverse if they are to fulfil their top-flight dreams.

The victor of Tuesday's tie will have just three days to recuperate before tackling Saint-Etienne in the promotion final, after which a two-legged playoff with the 16th-placed Ligue 1 team - most likely Metz - will determine their respective fates for the 2024-25 season.

For Rodez, promotion to the big time would be historic for a side that have been battling in the Ligue 2 basement since leaving the third tier behind in the 2018-19 season, finishing no higher than 15th in their previous four campaigns before Didier Santini worked his magic this time around.

The 55-year-old - who once had a stint at Livingston in Scotland during his playing heyday - masterminded a total of 60 points from 38 matches to guide Les Sangs et Or to a fourth-placed finish, sealed with a routine 2-0 beating of AC Ajaccio on the final day.

Defensive discipline was otherwise hard to come by for Rodez in the regular season, though, as 51 goals shipped was by far the highest total in the top nine of the table, while a few too many draws - 12 to be exact - denied them a higher ranking and more straightforward path to the top division.

Even challenging for a spot among the French elite is praiseworthy for a club of Rodez's modest history, and the same can be said for their upcoming foes Paris FC, without a Ligue 1 appearance since the 1978-79 season.

Previously forming an amalgamation with the best in the land Paris Saint-Germain - an alliance which ended over 50 years ago - the Blues have since watched on from afar as their affluent counterparts rule the nation, but a reunion for 2024-25 could soon be on the cards.

Stephane Gilli's men finished one point and one spot worse off than Rodez in the Ligue 2 standings, but unlike Les Sangs et Or, they have previous when it comes to jostling for top-half placement, finishing in the top seven in each of the last four campaigns.

A brilliant 11-game unbeaten run from February 3 to April 20 helped punch Paris' ticket to the playoffs, but they only won two of their final regular-season fixtures - drawing 1-1 with Bastia in their closing match - and pipped Caen to a coveted playoff place by just a single point.

The Bastia draw also marked a ninth match in a row without a clean sheet for the Blues, who did run out 2-0 victors over Rodez on home soil in December's Ligue 2 battle, but Santini's men earned a slice of revenge courtesy of a 1-0 win in April, just their third triumph from 10 games against the capital outfit.

Rodez AF Ligue 2 form:

Paris FC Ligue 2 form:

Team News

Rodez's problems shutting up shop can be partially attributed to their defensive injury crisis, as goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi-Nzau (knee) is sidelined, as are centre-backs Eric Vandenabeele (broken leg) and Joris Chougrani (knee).

Number one Sebastien Cibois has now recovered from an abdominal problem, though, leaving Santini with a difficult dilemma in goal, having given the nod to 18-year-old Reims loanee Ewen Jaouen for the past two games.

Winger Lucas Buades is also out with a foot problem for Rodez, whose two-man strikeforce of Andreas Hountondji and Killian Corredor managed 26 goals between them in the regular Ligue 2 campaign.

As Rodez rue defensive absences, the bulk of Paris' fitness problems come at the other end of the pitch, as Lamine Gueye (knee) and eight-goal top scorer Pierre-Yves Hamel (unspecified) are both out, while playmaker Ilan Kebbal came off on the stroke of half time on Friday evening with a sprained ankle.

Paris' chief creator this term with 11 assists - in addition to six goals - Kebbal is expected to sit out Tuesday's semi-final in a devastating blow to the Blues' chances of advancing, but Gilli can still call upon a competent replacement in Alimami Gory.

The 27-year-old chipped in with seven goals and eight assists in the regular season for Paris, whose long-term cruciate ligament victim Sofiane Alakouch will also watch on from the infirmary, and there is also concern over midfield fulcrum Cyril Mandouki following his own enforced withdrawal last time out.

Rodez AF possible starting lineup:
Cibois; Raux Yao, Danger, Mambo; Haag; Sylla, Rajot, Taibi, Abdallah; Corredor, Hountondji

Paris FC possible starting lineup:
Nkambadio; Dabila, Mbow, Kolodziejczak, Gaudin; Marchetti, Camara, Doucet; Gory; Dicko, Jabbari

We say: Rodez AF 1-0 Paris FC

Missing their top scorer and top playmaker for Tuesday's semi-final, the omens are not promising whatsoever for a luckless Paris FC, whose cruel blows should dash their chances of promotion.

Gilli's men have already struggled to bolt the back door closed in recent weeks, so the Corredor and Hountondji-inspired Rodez may require just the one goal to set up a date with Saint-Etienne.

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

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