Reunion islanders pull off shock win

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Updated: 22/03/2023


A 6,000-mile journey was worth it for JS Saint-Pierroise, an amateur side who play on the island of Reunion, as they shocked French second-division side Niort to reach the last 32 of the French Cup.

No team from Reunion – which is an island between Madagascar and Mauritius off the east coast of Africa – had reached the knockout stage of the cup before.

Nearly 100 fans had travelled to Niort, 120 miles north of Bordeaux, to follow their side and saw a huge upset thanks to goals from Gerard Hubert and Ryan Ponti.

Saint-Pierroise – a former club of ex-West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet – could now face Marseille or Bordeaux, who are in the same regionalised section of the draw. They are four points clear at the top of the Reunion Premier League and on course for a fifth straight title.

Teams from Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Reunion, Saint Martin and Saint Pierre and Miquelon are able to compete in the Coupe de France, with Guiana side ASC Le Geldar the only previous club from overseas to reach this stage.

Meanwhile, defending champions Rennes needed penalties to beat Amiens and fourth division Saint-Pryve Saint Hilaire stunned Ligue 1 Toulouse 1-0.

Toulouse fans missed Carnejy Antoine's 96th-minute winner because they had been kicked out of the ground by police after smoke bombs and flares saw the game suspended for 10 minutes.

Toulouse are bottom of the top flight after losing 10 consecutive games in all competitions.

The total journey time between Reunion and France is more than one day, according to Google Maps

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