Saint-Etienne beats 3rd-tier Boulogne-sur-Mer on penalties to reach French Cup semis

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    PARIS — First division Saint-Etienne squeezed through to the French Cup semifinals after beating third-tier Boulogne-sur-Mer 4-3 on penalties in a shootout on Tuesday after the match finished 1-1.

    Boulogne took the lead in the 80th minute through center half Anthony Soubervie's penalty, but Saint-Etienne hit back four minutes later through winger Benjamin Corgnet's first goal of the season.

    Following extra time, goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier made the decisive save from midfielder Xavier Mercier to send Saint-Etienne, which is in fifth place in the top flight, through to the last four. Forward Baidy Dia also his missed kick for Boulogne during the shootout.

    In Wednesday's quarterfinal, Paris Saint-Germain hosts Monaco. The sides played out a scrappy 0-0 draw in the league on Sunday.

    In an entertaining Cup tie, Boulogne took the lead after winger Julien Begue fell under the slightest of contact from Ruffier, and referee Freddy Fautrel pointed to the spot.

    Ruffier anticipated correctly from Soubervie's penalty, diving to his left, but the France No. 3 could only get his fingertips to the ball. Moments earlier, Ruffier had made an excellent stop to deny Mercier as he broke through.

    Home goalkeeper Jody Viviani — who spent four seasons with Saint-Etienne — denied his former team with a smart save from winger Romain Hamouma as the visitors pressured early on.

    In the first period of extra time, Ruffier had to be alert to deny striker Guy Niangbo.

    Saint-Etienne captain Loic Perrin, who missed his spot kick early into the shootout, gave full credit to Boulogne.

    "We didn't necessarily deserve to win, it's cruel for Boulogne. Congratulations to them," he said. "They were far more daring than us and we rode our luck a bit. I hope we carry this luck all the way until the end."

    Saint-Etienne has won the trophy six times, but not since 1977.

    In Thursday's quarters, Brest faces Auxerre in all-second division match, and rank outsider Concarneau — which plays in the amateur fourth tier — faces defending champion Guingamp, which plays in the first division.

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