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Coupe de France Preview: Cannes seek to extend fairytale, Monaco host Lens

Cannes will look to continue their fairytale run in the Coupe de France when they meet Ligue 1 Guingamp in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

The fourth-tier outfit are renowned for launching the careers of former France greats Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira.

However, a continued financial decline left Cannes on the verge of liquidation before a last-minute deal was brokered to keep the club afloat in August.

Cannes have gone on to enjoy a fine campaign and will host Guingamp having beaten two top-flight sides in Saint-Etienne and Montpellier on their way to the last eight.

At least one team from outside Ligue 1 is guaranteed to make the semi-finals, with Ligue 2 Angers set to visit Moulins, another fourth-tier outfit.

Angers will need to be wary of a team that stunned Toulouse 2-1 on the way to the quarter-finals.

Monaco appear favourites to win the competition, for the sixth time in their history, but Claudio Ranieri’s men face a potential banana skin against promotion-chasing Ligue 2 side Lens.

The principality club have fallen well adrift of Paris Saint-Germain in the Ligue 1 title race, and it could be a former PSG man that ends Monaco’s hopes of securing silverware this season.

Lens are led by ex-PSG coach Antoine Kombouare, who led the capital club to the 2010 Coupe de France crown before departing midway through the 2011-12 season.

Kombouare, who also won a league title, two Coupe de France crowns and the Coupe de la Ligue in his time as a player with PSG, is now working wonders with Lens.

The club are second in Ligue 2 and primed for a return to the top flight after a three-year absence, but Lens will know an excellent performance is likely to be needed if they are to inflict only a second home loss this season on Monaco.

Rennes are at home to Lille in the only all-Ligue 1 quarter-final.

Lille have won the Coupe de France six times, their latest triumph coming three seasons ago as part of a league and cup double under Rudi Garcia.

Rennes, by contrast, have not triumphed in the tournament since 1971, losing the 2009 final to local rivals Guingamp.

The hosts’ difficult first season under Philippe Montanier may yet end in relegation, but cup success would provide Rennes with a welcome boost.

Sat 22 March, 2014
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