In any football mad country, the stage at which the big teams enter the cup competitions is special. Not only does it act as a release from the pressure of the league for them, it gives smaller teams the chance to pit their wits and smaller budgets against the glamour clubs. Yet for Bordeaux, yesterday was a day for revenge.
Playing against a club two places and seven points above them in the league, who coincidentally knocked them out of France’s other cup competition back in August, Bordeaux - with midfielder Michaël Ciani who wears the boots shown above to the fore - slightly edged the 90 minutes but, as has been the case for much of the season, they struggled to kill the game off.
With 22 goals conceded against 20 scored, the season so far has been a stuttering one. Not so much a vintage year but one where the grapes have been soured. Yet with 2011 behind them, supporters of one of the grand old clubs of French football will hope that the 4-2 win on penalties can act as a catalyst for the second half of the season.
The club’s next two fixtures are both against teams below them in the league table who also have a negative goal difference, and if they can secure six points from those two games, they will be able to head into the following three fixtures with momentum.
And the club will need it, for those three fixtures are against clubs who are respectively, as it stands, eight, 12 and 13 points above them in the league, with the latter pair in the hunt for a European places and in a good position for a tilt at winning the league.
Interestingly, over the past 30 years the gap between the best vintages of Bordeaux wine has been, on average, five to six years. The last one was in 2005 so, with the right application, a bit of luck and a return to form in front of goal, the club can hopefully shoot up the table. continue its form in the cup and give its big support a fine vintage