Two-time Coupe de France winners Stade Rennais reached the final of this season’s competition with a nervy 3-2 win over Ligue 2 side Angers SCO on Tuesday.
Rennes, who won the Coupe in 1965 and 1971, will hope for better luck in the final on May 3 than their last visit to the Stade de France in last season’s French League Cup final, where they lost 1-0 against AS Saint-Etienne.
Rennes — who are in a lowly 14th position in Ligue 1 — came from a goal down early on to lead 3-1, but a penalty a minute from time by Mohammed Yattara, who had also scored their opener, made it a nervous last few minutes for the Brittany hosts.
However, they safely negotiated the dying stages to deprive Angers of what would have been their second appearance in the final, the first occasion being in 1957 when they were beaten 6-3 by Toulouse.
Angers — who are in the mix for promotion to Ligue 1 — got off to a fantastic start when Yattara put them ahead in the third minute.
However, the hosts leveled on the quarter-hour mark as Swedish international midfielder Ola Toivonen netted his seventh goal since arriving from Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven for 2.5 million euros (US$3.45 million) in the January transfer window.
Two further goals from Polish midfielder Kamil Grosicki and Cameroon veteran Jean II Makoun put les Rouges et Noir firmly in control and apart from Yattara’s late penalty, they were rarely troubled by Angers down the stretch.
Rennes will play the winners of the second semi-final between Ligue 1 title contenders AS Monaco and struggling En Avant de Guingamp.
“It is good to be in the final, but the championship is our main preoccupation,” said Rennes coach Philippe Montanier.
“If we can quickly assure ourselves of staying up and win the French Cup that will be a good result for a transitional season,” added Montanier, who has found life difficult in his first season since joining from Spanish side Real Sociedad where he was named La Liga coach of the year.