French Cup: Marseille beat Epinal to reach last-16; Nantes, Toulouse exit tournament
Valere Germain came off the bench to score as Marseille claimed a 2-0 win at fourth-tier outfit Epinal on Tuesday to reach the French Cup last 16.
Paris: Valere Germain came off the bench to score as Marseille claimed a 2-0 win at fourth-tier outfit Epinal on Tuesday to reach the French Cup last 16.
Epinal, who pulled off a famous shock victory over Lyon in the 2013 French Cup, frustrated Marseille for long periods on a tricky pitch but were undone by Germain's 73rd-minute strike and Morgan Sanson's late second.
The 27-year-old produced a wonderful, curling lob from the edge of the area two minutes after coming on as a substitute to end the hosts' resistance and score his 11th goal for the club since joining from Monaco in the close season.
Epinal coach Xavier Collin was proud of his team's performance against their heavyweight opposition.
"The boys were very disciplined..it's a shame as we weren't able to capitalise on our play.
"This type of game should help us become more consistent and make the players realise that we have a quality team."
His Marseille counterpart Rudi Garcia commented, "Objective reached, we've qualified. That's five matches now we haven't conceded a goal, I hope it will be six on Sunday (when they face Monaco in Ligue 1)."
Midfielder Sanson slotted in to complete the victory with just seconds left of injury time and secure the 10-time winners' progress into the next round.
Two Ligue 1 sides did fall to surprise defeats in the round of 32 though, as Claudio Ranieri's Nantes, sitting fifth in the top flight, were stunned 4-3 at home in a thriller by second-division side Auxerre.
Toulouse, who sacked coach Pascal Dupraz on Monday after falling into the Ligue 1 relegation zone, lost 2-0 at second-tier Bourg-en-Bresse.
Paris Saint-Germain continue their bid for a fourth straight Cup title on Wednesday at Guingamp, while Monaco host Lyon.
The Brazilian forward was shown a yellow card not long after coming on as a late substitute in the last-four tie in Montpellier.
European football weekend: LaLiga title race reaches fever pitch, Bayern Munich on brink and derby in Ligue 1
It might not be a winner-takes-all clash like in 2014, victory could give either Atletico Madrid or Barcelona the momentum needed to go on and claim the title.
Lille have two matches left and the victory puts them four points ahead of reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain, who visit Rennes on Sunday evening.