Nicholas Gioacchini would start for Montpellier while Konrad de la Fuente was ruled out of the Marseille squad due to “physical discomfort” as the Mediterranean side advanced on penalties to the quarterfinals of the French Cup.

Marseille 1-1 Montpellier (Marseille advance 5-4 on penalties)

Both teams scored offsetting goals in the second half, but Marseille would come out on top in the end on penalties as they booked their place in the quarterfinals of the French Cup with their win at the Stade Velodrome.

In the round of 16 matchup, Nicholas Gioacchini played 79 minutes for Montpellier, completing 73 percent of his passes and winning three duels while putting one shot on target. On the other side, Konrad de la Fuente was not with Marseille again due to an undisclosed injury.

Gioacchini paired up next to strike partner Sepe Elye Wahi atop Montpellier’s 4-4-2 formation. Neither saw much of the ball, though, with their team conceding 69 percent possession to a superior Marseille side.

The 21-year-old did have a chance to get on the scoresheet in the 72nd minute after a counterattack brought the ball down the right flank. As the cross came in, he beat his defender to the ball at the near post only to watch it slip past his right foot and roll harmlessly across the face of the goal. 

Immediately following this missed chance, the visitors had to watch Arkadiusz Milik bang the ball into the top corner for Marseille when they were unable to clear the ball. It was a difficult moment considering Dimitry Bertaud, Montpellier’s 23-year-old goalkeeper, had made several spectacular saves leading up to this, but the goal was well deserved.

Down 1-0 with their Cup hopes on the line, Montpellier started pushing harder. The subs paid off immediately when in the 80th minute Beni Makouana brought the ball down behind the Marseille backline and lobbed it over the keeper for a brilliant goal to bring it level.

The hosts couldn’t find another goal, thanks in part to more great goalkeeping from Bertaud, and the teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and heading to penalties.

After only putting in one out of twenty-eight shots over ninety minutes plus stoppage time, Marseille netted all five of their penalties and advanced to the next round on what would be a very tough defeat for Gioacchini and Montpellier.  

By Dan Whelton

Dan is a statesider living in Connecticut. He was a latecomer to obsessing about the beautiful game, with the spark coming while watching the US play into the quarter finals in 2002. That fire was fanned when he married into a football-centric French family, full of eternal football souls. When he's not coaching the youth teams of his two children, he loves watching and discussing the continued development of the sport in this country, and of the players that represent the U.S. on teams all over the world.

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