sport

St Etienne targeting cup first

There will be a new name on the Coupe de la Ligue this season and St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier is determined to see his side go into the history books.

With just four teams left in the competition, and none of them having previously won the title, the battle is on to reach the final on April 20.

St Etienne are as keen as anyone to make the trip to the Stade de France, but must first overcome Lille in Tuesday's opening semi-final.

Yet having dispatched giants Paris St Germain in the previous round, Galtier is hopeful his side can continue their progress.

"This is the most important match for us at the start of the year," he said on www.asse.fr.

"This semi-final could be a great game for us to get to the Stade de France.

"It would be historic to win this trophy and we will do all we can to prepare for the semi-final in the best possible way."

St Etienne's build-up has suffered a blow, however, with the news midfielder Romain Hamouma will be sidelined for around four weeks with a quadriceps injury he sustained in the weekend draw against Toulouse.

Lille claimed their place in the last four with a 3-0 victory at Bastia, but defender Lucas Digne expects Tuesday's match to be less one-sided.

"We will have to deal with constant pressure, that is a certainty," he said on www.losc.fr.

"We are ready to give our all though, and take it to penalties if necessary."

The second semi-final will take place on Wednesday evening between Rennes and Montpellier.

Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti has several selection worries ahead of the match. Onyekachi Apam has a thigh injury while John Mensah will undergo a late fitness test on a back problem.

Jonathan Pitroipa was released from African Nations Cup duty with Burkina Faso especially for the cup tie, but has taken a knock to the hip and is doubtful.

Opponents Montpellier are the only team among the last four to have experienced a Coupe de la Ligue final, having lost out to Marseille in 2010/11.