Fourth-tier AS Cannes on Tuesday played the role of giant-killers once again as they dumped Ligue 1 side Montpellier Herault out of the Coupe de France’s last 16 in a 1-0 victory, while LOSC Lille Metropole avoided a similar humiliation by scraping past Ligue 2 club Stade Malherbe Caen on penalties.
Cannes, who are toiling away in the amateur ranks after having played in the top flight less than two decades ago, dispatched first-division club AS Saint-Etienne in the previous round before claiming the scalp of Rolland Courbis’ revitalized Montpellier.
A goalless 90 minutes on the French Riviera was overshadowed by unrest in the Montpellier supporters’ section that police responded to by firing tear gas into the area occupied by the away fans to restore calm.
Extra time was needed at Cannes’ Stade Pierre de Coubertin and Mbaye Niang — on as a substitute after having started on the bench after a brush with the law last week — missed a glorious chance to put Montpellier ahead on 102 minutes when he struck a penalty-kick against the base of the post.
That miss was to prove extremely costly, as Cannes countered on the break in the dying stages, before Belkacem Zobiri drilled home a dramatic winner in the 119th minute to seal the second-tier side’s place in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, 2011 Coupe winners Lille were forced to stage a furious comeback at home to Caen before outlasting their opponents in a shootout to reach the last eight of the competition.
After falling 2-0 behind in the opening half-hour, Rene Girard’s side appeared on course to be added to the growing number of Ligue 1 outfits eliminated from the Coupe, a list that already included favorites Paris Saint-Germain.
An error from reserve Lille goalkeeper Steeve Elana was pounced on by Fode Koita, who put Caen in front at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on 14 minutes.
Koita struck again in the 29th to double the visitors’ lead, before Lille’s Ronny Rodelin pulled a goal back for Rene Girard’s side shortly afterward.
Lille’s sustained pressure in the second half finally paid off in the 76th minute when Jonathan Delaplace reacted quickest to slot home the rebound of Divock Origi’s long-range effort and level the score.
Nolan Roux then looked to have won it for the hosts when he fired them ahead with just seven minutes remaining in the game.
However, Rodelin then nodded the ball past his own ’keeper deep into stoppage-time, prompting an additional 30 minutes and eventually, penalties.
In the shootout, the first 11 spot-kicks were successfully dispatched, before Caen’s Mathias Autret — needing to score to keep his side’s hopes alive — skied his effort over the crossbar.
In the Coupe’s other game, second-division SCO Angers beat fellow Ligue 2 side CA Bastia 4-2.