'Relief and satisfaction' as Galtier's Nice end 25-year Coupe de France wait

By Sports Desk March 01, 2022

Christophe Galtier guided Nice past the minnows of Versailles and into the Coupe de France final, before declaring: "I can't wait to see the Stade de France in red and black."

A first appearance in the competition's final for 25 years awaits Nice now, with Nantes and Monaco going head to head on Wednesday for the right to join them in Paris on May 8.

Nice are owned now by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe and have big ambitions they are moving towards fulfilling. A trophy is now in their sights, while they sit third in Ligue 1, which meant they began as overwhelming favourites against fourth-tier Versailles.

Goals in the second half from Amine Gouiri and Kasper Dolberg did the job, earning a 2-0 win for the home side as an initially nervy Nice stepped up the pace once they edged ahead.

"There was a lot of pressure before this match," head coach Galtier said. "People wanted to see the amateurs beat the pros. The joy was not the same with us as it was after the successes against PSG or Marseille. It was more relief and satisfaction."

PSG and Marseille were beaten by Nice in the previous two rounds, and it will be the Parisians who are next to come to the Allianz Riviera on Saturday for a Ligue 1 assignment.

"We have to recover quickly to play a big match against Paris," Galtier said. "But there is a lot of joy and relief. I can't wait to see the Stade de France in red and black."

More joy for Galtier could come at the national stadium, as the man who won the Coupe de la Ligue with Saint-Etienne nine years ago and the Ligue 1 title with Lille last season attempts to complete the set of French football's major trophies.

"It would be great as a treble with three different clubs," Galtier said. "I've already won the Coupe de France as an assistant with Alain Perrin at Sochaux and Lyon, but as a head coach it would be extraordinary. However, we are a long way from that."

Goalkeeper Marcin Bulka said Nice were good value for their place in the trophy match.

Bulka told Nice's official website: "There are thousands of teams who take part in this competition, and we have qualified for the final! We are very happy with this qualification. It's well deserved, because we eliminated strong teams like Paris and Marseille.

"It is no accident, no coincidence that we are here. The team deserves this victory and those before and to be in the final. Now we have one last step. We want to win and I hope we will achieve our goal."

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