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Soccer News of Saturday, 7 May 2022

Source: punchng.com

Simon hopes to lead Nantes to first French Cup title in 22 years

Nantes' Moses Simon Nantes' Moses Simon

Moses Simon will be looking to help Nantes win their first trophy in 22 years when they take on Nice in the final of the Coupe de France on Saturday May 7 at the Stade de France.

Nantes who last won the Coupe de France trophy during the 1999/2000 season have the chance of returning to the reckoning of French football.

On their way to the final, Nantes beat FC Sochaux 5-4 on penalties after the normal regulation time had ended goalless in the third round. They went on to see off AS Vitré 2-0 in the fourth round also seeing off Stade Brestois 2-0 in the round of 16.

Another 2-0 win saw them sail past SC Bastia in the quarter final while Simon scored the final penalty to help them see off Monaco 6-5 on penalties in the semi-final, a victory that sparked a joyous pitch invasion from supporters at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

Simon has returned to form in time for the final having scored thrice for Nantes in their last three games while providing one assist, a performance that earned him the club’s April Player of the Month award. 

On paper Nice are favourites to win their first silverware since lifting their third French Cup in 1997.A win for Nantes in the final could see them qualify for European competition but manager, Antoine Kombouaré, is hoping they won’t be carried away by the thought of using it as passage for European competition next season.

“We need to play down the significance of the occasion as much as possible,” Kombouare told the press.

“This is a final, it’s an exceptional moment but what are we risking? We are safe in Ligue 1, and the best-case scenario is that we win and have a party.’’

After the last two finals were played in an almost entirely empty stadium due to the pandemic, there will be a sell-out crowd of around 80,000 this time at the Stade de France.

It will be the first French Cup final refereed by a woman, with Stephanie Frappart — a regular in charge of Ligue 1 matches — overseeing the game.