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French Cup - Match Prediction: Canet Roussillon VS Montpellier
Match Time：4/21/2021 03:00 Wednesday (GMT+8)
French Cup -- Canet Roussillon VS Montpellier
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Coupe de France giant killers Canet Roussillon will be eyeing another gargantuan shock in France's premier cup competition when they play host to Montpellier HSC in Tuesday's quarter-final.
The fourth-tier hosts overcame Boulogne in the round of 16 to set up a last-eight clash with Montpellier, who head into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw with Ligue 1 leaders Lille.
Minnows Canet Roussillon ensured that the final game of Nasser Larguet's tenure in the Marseille dugout would be a miserable one, as the Championnat National 2 side produced one of the results of the season by overcoming Les Olympiens 2-1 in the last 32 of the Coupe de France on March 7.
Farid Fouzari had a somewhat friendlier fixture with third-tier side Boulogne to contend with exactly a month later, but even then they had to beat another higher division team to seal progress to the next round, and they did exactly that as Yohan Bai netted a 42nd-minute winner in the last 16.
Amid the suspension of the Championnat National 2, Canet Roussillon have not taken to the field in a competition other than the Coupe de France since the start of February, and they failed to win in four in the league before the coronavirus pandemic forced yet another shutdown of the lower tiers.
Fouzari's side would have been dreaming of a battle with Lyon, Monaco or Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals, but welcoming Montpellier to the 3,400-seater Stade Saint-Michel - albeit an empty one - is a momentous occasion for all associated with the club as they bid to make an unprecedented semi-final appearance.
Montpellier will be in no mood to let the minnows spoil their progression party, though, especially seeing as Michel Der Zakarian's men managed to hold Ligue 1 leaders Lille to a deserved draw on Friday evening.
La Paillade's main man Andy Delort - unsurprisingly assisted by Gaetan Laborde - headed in his 12th Ligue 1 goal of the season in the 21st minute to put Montpellier in the ascendancy, but Luiz Araujo curled home with 85 minutes on the clock to deny Montpellier all three points at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
While that result saw Der Zakarian's side extend their unbeaten run across all competitions to 14 matches, they have only claimed three wins from their last nine - two of them in the Coupe de France - and they had to rely on a thunderous Florent Mollet free kick to get them over the line against Chateaubriant in the previous round of the cup.
Montpellier's European chase in Ligue 1 is not dead in the water just yet, and La Paillade have not advanced past the quarter-final stage of the Coupe de France since the 1996-97 season, but they have been presented with a prime opportunity to end that barren 24-year run here.
All three of Montpellier's cup wins so far this season have come on the road, and they have strung together a nine-game unbeaten streak away from home amid their impressive run, but the top-tier side could follow in Marseille's footsteps if they fail to pay Canet the respect that they deserve this week.
Canet Roussillon Coupe de France form: WWWWW
Canet Roussillon form (all competitions): DWWWWW
Montpellier HSC Coupe de France form: WWW
Montpellier HSC form (all competitions): DWDWDD
Canet are well-stocked for this game and Fouzari has options in abundance, but he must decide whether to keep faith with Aboubakar Kone up top or rotate Raphael Pioton - who started in the shock win over Marseille - into the side.
It would be harsh to drop any member of the back four who played their part in the clean sheet against Boulogne, but Diadie Diarra is pushing for a recall after coming off the bench last time out.
Montpellier defender Pedro Mendes let out sickening cries of anguish when he went down clutching his knee against Lille, and with the 30-year-old now confirmed to have ruptured his cruciate ligament, he will not play again this season.
Captain Hilton - surprisingly benched on Friday - should therefore earn an immediate recall to the defence, assuming that his 43-year-old legs can handle two games in the space of a few days.
A man 25 years his junior in Elye Wahi will hope to be given the nod up top if Delort and Laborde are rested, while Dimitry Bertaud, Nicolas Cozza and Damien Le Tallec can all expect to earn starts too, but Joris Chotard is doubtful after missing the draw with Lille through illness.
Canet Roussillon possible starting lineup:
Ferry; Martin, Mbimba, Diarra, Ba; Ouadoudi, Posteraro, Vercruysse; Bai, Kone, Gasparotto
Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Bertaud; Souquet, Hilton, Cozza, Ristic; Le Tallec, Mollet, Savanier; Laborde, Wahi, Dolly
Canet Roussillon vs Montpellier HSC
Canet Roussillon 0-2 Montpellier HSC
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