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Magenta achieve rare French Cup feat

Coach Alain Moizan and his men faced USL Dunkerque, a Dunkirk-based club that has made the quarter-finals four times and the semi-finals once, and emerged victorious on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Noumea.
It is the first time a New Caledonian side has made it to this stage of the cup in 42 years and Magenta will travel to France to face a yet-to-be-named opponent. They will find out who they will meet when the draw is conducted on Wednesday afternoon.
In front of a boisterous home crowd, Magenta started slowly and were put under a lot of pressure by their higher-ranked visitors. But they gradually began to find their way into the game and had their first attempt at goal in the 17th minute when Jean Philippe Saiko fired wide.
Magenta maintained their dominance and nearly went ahead in the 34th minute through Paul Poatinda, who struck his shot onto the crossbar after a cross from Judigael Ixoee.
The two teams went into the sheds at half-time without troubling the scorers but Magenta began the second spell the same way as they ended the first – by keeping the ball and controlling most of the play.
Striker Saiko, who is in good form after scoring Magenta’s goal in their 1-0 win over Tefana in the O-League, was continuing to look threatening and had another chance to open the scoring from a long-range free kick. But his effort from around 30 metres was well kept out by the Dunkerque goalkeeper.
The visitors then silenced the home fans when Emmanuel Marque put them ahead with only ten minutes left.
The task got even tougher for Magenta just a few minutes later when midfielder Noel Kaudre was sent off after an altercation with a Dunkerque player.
But, despite being down to ten men, they refused to give up and were rewarded for their never-say-die attitude when they scored with one of the last kicks of the game.
The 90 minutes were up on the clock and injury time was well underway when inspirational captain Pierre Wajoka delivered a pass to Saiko to finish off and send the fans delirious.
No further goals were scored in a tense 30 minutes of extra time so the match had to be decided on penalties.
Magenta missed their first effort but managed to win the shoot-out 4-3 after Dunkerque failed to score from two of their spot kicks.
Tahiti side Dragon could not match their New Caledonian counterparts’ feat of making the next round and went down 4-0 against France’s Poitiers.
The draw for the next round will take place on Wednesday at 12pm local time at the French Football Federation headquarters.

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