Auxerre flabbergast holders Guingamp to reach Cup finals
Second division Auxerre turned back the clock on past glories as they beat holders Guingamp 1-0 on Tuesday to reach the final of the French Cup.
Frederic Sammaritano scored the only goal of the game for the unfancied outfit, currently 8th in Ligue 2, after 15 minutes.
“We’ll savor this achievement. I’m very proud to coach this group, they deserve to go through,” said Auxerre coach Jean-Luc Vannuchi.
“Our final was tonight, we won it. Now we’re going into a new dimension whoever our opponents will be.”
Sitting back, relying on the pace of their counters and despite being down to 10- men when Jamel Ait Ben Idir saw red after 73 minutes, Auxerre managed to hold out Guingamp, who featured in the Europa League this season and are currently 11th in Ligue 1.
“We’re disappointed because we got so close to our goal. It’s tough, but we didn’t deserve to go through,” admitted Guingamp boss Jocelyn Gourvennec.
Sammaritano’s strike was enough for Auxerre, who are no pushovers in the Coupe de France, having won five out of six matches they have played at this stage of the competition — that last defeat coming in 1989 against Marseille. On four of those occasions they went on to lift the Cup.
Relegated in 2012, Auxerre won a league and cup double un- der legendary coach Guy Roux in 1996 while also lifting the Cup in 1994, 2003 and 2005.
Roux said: “Seeing Auxerre returning to the final after 10 years, it doesn’t make me younger! I’m not very demonstrative but my internal joy was very real.”
The Bourgogne side, who saw Eric Cantona, Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby rise through their ranks, had previously knocked out Strasbourg, Jura Sud Foot, Le Poire-sur-Vie and Brest.
Auxerre will be the twelfth second-tier club to reach the final of the French Cup — the first since Guingamp beat Rennes in 2009.
The second semifinal sees injury-hit Paris Saint-Germain take on Saint-Etienne on Wednesday, with the final set for May 30.
Auxerre’s French midfielder Jamel Ait Ben Idir, left, and Auxerre’s French defender Sebastien Puygrenier, center, vie with Guingamp’s French midfielder Sambou Yatabare, right, during the French Cup soccer match between Auxerre and Guingamp at the l’Abbe-Deschamps stadium in Auxerre, France on Tuesday, April 7.