Preview: Ajaccio - PSG Handball

After a month and a half of truce (due to the 2020 European Championship, which ended on Sunday with Spain's victory), Paris Saint-Germain Handball is back on the road again, in the Round of 16 of the French Cup on Friday evening. For the occasion, they travel to the Île-de-Beauté to take on Ajaccio.

Alpha clash
While the Red and Blue have made a perfect start to the Lidl StarLigue campaign with 13 wins from as many league matches and logically occupy top spot in the standings, the Corsicans have also had a very good first half of the season. Indeed, they currently lead their N1 pool with ten wins from 11 games (just one defeat). With a three-point lead over nearest rivals Annecy, GFCA are on track to top their group and gain promotion to the Proligue.

View this post on Instagram

La vente des billets est ouverte, lien dans notre bio ! Dans le cadre du partenariat avec la Cullettività di Corsica et des 8eme de Finale de la Coupe de France de Handball, le GFCA Handball, invaincu à domicile depuis plus d’un an, reçoit le PSG Handball, Leader de la LIDL StarLigue, le 31 Janvier, à l'U Palatinu d’Ajaccio ! Au-delà d’une rencontre de la Coupe de France, il s’agit, pour nous, d'un Match dont l’enjeu est celui du Cœur et du Respect. Et dans nos cœurs cette simple question : « Quel Rouge et Bleu serez-vous ce jour-là ? » PIU CHE MAI… FORZA GFCA 🔴🔵 ! Vente des billets en ligne et points de vente affiliés Réseau CorseBillet à partir du 21 JAN 12h30. - Accueil du Public, à partir de 18H #coupedefrancedehandball #GFCA #PSG #ajaccio #corse #corsica #collectivitedecorse , @citadaiacciu, @qwantcom, @aircorsicaofficiel, #KyrnoliaAjaccio, #CcasMarinca

A post shared by Gazélec FC Aiacciu Handball (@gfcahand) on Jan 21, 2020 at 12:22am PST

How they got here
Should Ajaccio qualify, it would not be their first upset victory in the 2019-20 French Cup. After taking out Bagnols (41-30), who play in the same group in the N1, in the Round of 32, they came up against Lidl StarLigue side Istres. Former Czech international Jan Basny's side were able to count on Tony Brunetti's seven goals to secure their place in the Round of 16 (37-30). The capital outfit, meanwhile, made their debut in the round of 16 with a trip to Pontault-Combault. Rodrigo Corrales's 18 saves and Kamil Syprzak's eight goals ensured Paris qualified (26-28).

The last time they met
This is not the first time the two sides have met! Back in February 2018, at the same stage of the competition, they did battle and, after a relatively balanced first half (9-16), the Parisian machine hit the accelerator to sweep past their opponents, who were playing in National 2 at the time. Brunetti did well and caused some problems for our defence, with six goals, but Les Rouge et Bleu, led by the six goals of their Qatari pivot Jovo Damjanovic and the seven from Nedim Remili, responded perfectly and clinched a deserved win (17-42).

Key stats
The Corsicans have scored 358 times in the league this season, left-winger Tony Brunetti leading the way with 62 goals in 11 appearances - the fifth-highest tally in Ajaccio's N1 group. Defensively, Ajaccio can rely on an experienced 'keeper in the person of Robin Cappelle. The former Aix, Nimes and Istres 'keeper, who left the professional world this summer (after racking up more than 2,000 saves) to prepare for his future career in the banking sector, managed 15 saves against Paris in the Lidl StarLigue last season (when playing for Istres, 24-31). Raul Gonzalez's men, meanwhile, have 455 goals to their name (the best attacking line in the league) thanks in particular to Mikkel Hansen and his 66 goals.

To follow the game (kick-off at 20.30)
- Television: Not broadcast
- Live tweet: our official page

(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)