OL-Ajaccio: Make a successful start (9 PM, Eurosport 2)
Deprived of a place in Europe this season, OL can only count on the Coupe de France to provide a change from the usual league matches, as exciting as they have been this year. Very often the opportunity to meet amateur clubs, the Round of 64 of the 2021 edition of the Coupe de France has been profoundly transformed by the health crisis and will see Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs face off. Currently on a run of four consecutive victories in the league, Rudi Garcia's men would be well inspired to keep up this good form to give themselves the opportunity to lift this Cup come the end of the season.
In a Coupe de France match there is no such thing as a safe bet, and the goal is to win no matter what. A semifinalist last year and a also a Coupe de la Ligue finalist, the vast majority of the squad are familiar with the unique challenges of a Cup match. Beyond qualifying for the Champions League at the end of the season, performing well in the Cup is also one of the club's goals this season. OL cannot be satisfied with an early elimination. However, this game comes at the heart of a very busy schedule for Les Gones with four matches in 10 days. It is up to Rudi Garcia to manage his side, who will have the advantage of not having played in Europe and for the moment being relatively free from injuries.
Having played in Ligue 2 since 2014, AC Ajaccio defeated Châteauroux in the previous round. Deprived of a chance to take part in the play-offs despite coming third last year, the Ajacciens have slipped a bit this season. After a poor start to the league season, they are currently tenth with a balanced record of 8 wins, 8 draws and 8 defeats. However, they have only been beaten once in their last 10 matches, showing their renewed strength. Olivier Pantaloni’s men will look to build on these latest results and will arrive head held high at Groupama Stadium, facing an OL team who will have to do well to make good on the difference between the clubs.