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As they have done so often throughout Montpellier’s mixed season, Andy Delort and Gaetan Laborde came up with the goods to propel La Paillade to a 3-2 victory over Strasbourg, with the former netting in between Laborde’s brace all before the 50-minute mark.
Ludovic Ajorque and Kevin Zohi set up a nervy finish to the encounter, but Montpellier ultimately held on to bounce back from two successive defeats to Nice and Saint-Etienne, though that triumph has done little to boost their chances of a European berth for next season.
La Paillade also knocked Strasbourg out in their inaugural Coupe de France meeting earlier in the season, and they have secured three victories over lower-tier sides in Olympique d’Ales, Chateaubriant and Canet Roussillon en route to the final four, but not one of those victories was at all convincing.
However, all four of Montpellier’s Coupe de France games so far this season have been on the road, so they will certainly welcome a return to familiar surroundings for the semi-final, and they have only lost one of their last six at the Stade de la Mosson.
The two-time Coupe de France winners have already achieved their best finish in the tournament since the 1996-97 campaign – where they lost in the final four to Guingamp – but the perennial champions of the tournament are standing in their way as they bid to book their spot in the showpiece event.
With their Champions League hopes dead in the water and their stronghold on Ligue 1 seemingly destined to come to an end, the Coupe de France may be Mauricio Pochettino‘s only saving grace this season.
The capital outfit fell further behind Lille in the title race as Rennes striker Serhou Guirassy cancelled out Neymar‘s opener in a 1-1 draw on Sunday night, and with PSG now three points behind the leaders in the table, Lille only need four points from their remaining two matches to dethrone PSG.