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Super Eagles star Moses Simon the hero as Nantes reach Coupe de France final

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Nantes last won the competition in 2000, and Monaco had not tasted cup glory since 1991, setting up a compelling encounter that brought the best out of both sides 

Nigerian attacker Moses Simon sent Nantes to the final of the Coupe De France as he scored the winning penalty after their enthralling semifinal clash with Monaco ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Super Eagles attacker had been one of Nantes’ best players this term, and it was only fitting that he led them towards what could be their first triumph in the competition in 22 years. 

Moses missed Nantes’ goalless draw at Metz at the weekend due to family reasons. Still, the Nigerian’s excellent performance in the 3-1 demolition of French football’s dominant force PSG just a few days ago remains fresh in the memory.

And Nantes manager Antoine Koumbare showed his faith in the 26-year-old by sticking him right back in the starting lineup.

Still, it was Monaco who drew first blood following Guillermo Maripan’s header in the 12th minute. But Nantes had been on a run of 14 home games without defeat, and they showed their resilience with the equaliser midway through the half.

The home side broke forward on a counter with pace and with Kolo Muani looking to cross to Simon, Monaco ace Sidibe slid in to direct the ball into his own net.

The two teams were inseparable at halftime, but Simon was close to getting the Yellow Canaries in the lead just past the hour-mark.

The Nantes number 27 did brilliantly on the left wing to create enough room for a fierce shot, but Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel produced a stunning save at his near post.

But La Beaujoire eventually trembled in the 74th minute when the home fans voiced shouts of joy after Samuel Moutoussamy prodded home Nantes’ second goal of the night.

The joy only lasted two minutes, though, as substitute Myron Boadu drew Monaco back on level terms.

No winner emerged during regulation time, with the match proceeding straight to penalties.

Ben Yedder and Tchouameni missed their spot-kicks while Disasi and Volland netted theirs for Monaco.

But Nantes scored all four of their kicks, with Simon firing home the decider for a 4-2 win after Muani, Merlin, and Moutoussamy had put the Canaries in the driving seat.

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Nantes will now wait until May when they will face Nice in the final of the Coupe De France.

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