PARIS (AP) – Nantes reached the French Cup final for the first time in 22 years by beating Monaco on penalties early yesterday after an exciting game finished in a 2-2 draw.
Nigeria winger Moses Simon scored the decisive spot kick to make it 4-2 in the shootout and spark a pitch invasion at Stade de la Beaujoire as jubilant Nantes fans celebrated in a good-natured atmosphere.
Having only just stayed in the first division after winning a promotion-relegation playoff last season, it has been some turnaround for Nantes. Coach Antoine Kombouare’s side is on course for a first trophy since winning the cup in 2000.
Nantes will aim to win it for the fourth time when it faces Nice on May 8 at Stade de France.
Monaco’s missed penalties came from France internationals Wissam Ben Yedder and midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.
In a fair match with no yellow cards, Monaco defender Guillermo Maripan headed the visitors ahead in the 12th minute from Caio Henrique’s free kick.
But Nantes equalised midway through the first half when Monaco right back Djibril Sidibe scored into his own net when sliding to cut out forward Randal Kolo Muani’s pass. Simon cut in from the right and had a shot saved by German goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel in the 71st.
Nuebel was helpless three minutes later when midfielder Samuel Moutoussamy stroked the ball in after a scramble in the penalty area.
Monaco scored straight from the restart when Nantes goalkeeper Remy Descamps hesitated to come out for a cross, and substitute Myron Boadu headed in.
Nantes won the competition back-to-back in 1999 and 2000, while Monaco last won in ’91 under storied coach Arsene Wenger and was runner-up last year.