Four-class team SAS Épinal will take on Lille on Wednesday evening in its own Stade de la Colombière. Do the amateurs know for the second time this season to win from a professional football team?
In group A of the Championnat National 2, SAS Épinal is mid-season mid-season with already 21 points behind the leaders and so the team is a surprising name in the eighth finals of the Coupe de France. The amateurs have come so far in the cup tournament by first stunting against second-division team Sochaux, then settling with two division teammates and in the previous round after having played almost the entire game with one more man, only after winning the amateurs Saint- Pierroise, the champion of the island of Réunion. The players don’t seem to have to talk to Lille about their football quality, but with the right mentality and dedication the amateurs can dream of a stunt.
Lille suffered the third league defeat in a row against Paris Saint-Germain last weekend in its own home, which means that Christophe Galtier’s team has lost its connection with the top three. Against the Parisians, Les Dogues hardly found any danger last weekend and goalkeeper Mike Maignan was outsmarted twice by Neymar Jr., which eventually led to a 2-0 loss. The defeat against PSG was the first home defeat in competition in no less than seventeen games and if Lille still wants to participate in the battle for European tickets, the form really needs to improve, starting with the away match against SAS Épinal.
In ten away games in the competition, Lille only achieved five points this season. To illustrate: only Nimes Olympique and Toulouse, the numbers nineteen and twenty of the rankings, achieved fewer points outside their own stadium, but these teams managed to score more often than the Galtier team. Earlier this month, les Dogues showed in the Coupe de France that they can win and score a visit to amateur teams, but against opponents from Ligue 1, Galtier’s team has only succeeded once in a competition this season.