French cup joy for Phiri‚ Belgian heartache for Tau

Guingamp's South African midfielder Lebogang Phiri (L) and Guingamp's French defender Christophe Kerbrat (R) fights for the ball with Monaco's Gelson Martins during the French League Cup semi-final football match between Guingamp and Monaco on January 29, 2019 at the Roudourou stadium in Guingamp, western France.
Guingamp's South African midfielder Lebogang Phiri (L) and Guingamp's French defender Christophe Kerbrat (R) fights for the ball with Monaco's Gelson Martins during the French League Cup semi-final football match between Guingamp and Monaco on January 29, 2019 at the Roudourou stadium in Guingamp, western France.
Image: FRED TANNEAU / AFP

Lebogang Phiri played a crucial role as Guingamp booked a place in the French League Cup final on Tuesday night‚ but there was heartache for Percy Tau in Belgium as his cup run came to an end.

Phiri played the full game for Guingamp as they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Monaco in their Coupe de la Ligue semifinal‚ and then advanced in a penalty shootout.

The Bafana Bafana midfielder kept his cool to slot one of the penalties in the shootout as Guingamp booked a first ever final in the competition.

They will meet either Lebo Mothiba’s Strasbourg or Bordeaux in the March 30 final at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille‚ with those two sides in action on Wednesday night.

For Mothiba it would be a return to the home of his former club‚ where he will no doubt feel very comfortable.

Tau’s Royal Union St-Gilloise lost to fellow Belgian second-tier side Mechelen in their semifinal‚ bringing to an end a cup run that saw the side into the semifinals for the first time in 50 years.

Tau was unfortunate with two disallowed goals in the first leg‚ and could not help his side to victory this time round as they lost 2-1 in their home leg to go out by the same scoreline on aggregate.

He did have chances to get a goal‚ but shot wide when well-placed on two occasions and also found Mechelen keeper Michael Verrips in good form.

Tau will now turn his attention to helping his side push for promotion‚ though their chances are growing ever slim.

They must make up a seven-point deficit on leaders Beerschot Wilrijk and Mechelen in order to enter the promotion playoffs.

At the very least Tau‚ on loan from English Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion‚ will want to see his side finish in the top three‚ which would qualify them for the Uefa Europa League playoffs‚ despite the fact that they are a second-tier side.

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