Friday 20 January 2012 - 20:21 - Translated by Puchkin
Coupe de France, Nice - Stade rennais, Saturday 20:45 CET. With seven players missing with injuries, international call-ups or suspension, Frédéric Antonetti will have to call upon players from the youth squad in order to complete his team.
Boukari and Pajot ? Injured in Caen. Théophile-Catherine? Suspended for three yellow cards in less than ten games. Boye, Hadji, Mangane et Pitroipa ? All out for the African Cup of Nations which starts this Saturday. To face the OGC Nice in the Coupe de France’s round of thirty two, Frédéric Antonetti faces an avalanche of absences when composing his squad.
Although the midfield is relatively spared, except for Pajot, the other lines are suffering, and the manager will hope not to suffer any additional injuries or suspensions after this week-end’s game. It is certainly in attack that this absences are causing the most worries to the Rennes manager. Except for a surprise, the front three to start the game is already known, with Brahimi and Kembo on the wings and Montaño at centre forward. Called to reinforce the squad, youngsters Fantamady Diarra and Abdoulaye Sané could come off the bench at the Stade du Ray, which would be the first professional appearance for the latter. In defence, the absences of Boye and Mangane are adding to the suspension of Kévin Théophile-Catherine who will leave his left-back position for a night, probably to Chris Mavinga. In order to have another full-back available, Frédéric Antonetti has called youngster Dimitri Foulquier back in the squad. Logically, the centre-back pair of Apam and Kana-Biyik formed last week-end in Caen should return unchanged. Finally, the biggest uncertainty is probably at midfield. To replace Vincent Pajot, Antonetti has successively tested Tongo Doumbia and Alexander Tettey in training. Although the former, often in the starting eleven since the beginning of the season, seems to be the more expectable solution, a surprise isn’t excluded with a start for the latter.
In Nice too, the African Cup of Nations is taking its toll on René Marsiglia’s squad. Like in Rennes, four players have left the squad to join their national teams, while the Nice coach will also face several absences due to injuries. Two players are indeed absent for long-term, Emerse Faé, suffering with phlebitis, and striker Xavier Pentecôte who tore his cruciate knee ligaments during the last Ligue 1 game between OGC Nice and Stade Rennais. More recently, they have been joined by the tough Serbian centre-back Nemanja Pejcinovic who suffers with a hamstring injury. Finally, latest Nice recruit Kévin Anin is not qualified for this game.