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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The ‘cup penalty’ that took over in the league: seven unemployed… and in the cup semi-final


NoYou never know when you will be able to experience the best moment of your sports career. For Thomas Callens (Brest, France, 1998) arrived yesterday. He was in a stadium as legendary as the Vélodrome… in a tanda of penalties in the Coupe de France against Olympique de Marseille, a team that had left PSG on the street. The north goalkeeper, who came on the bench in Ligue 2 (his team is 10th) but is a regular in the cup, Accumulate seven penalties stopped in this tournament… where his team is already in the semifinals together with Lyon, Nantes and Toulouse.


Callens’ career does not boast many opportunities. c.Former Caen player, at 24 he still hasn’t accumulated a full season as a starter. The most he played was with the Lorient branch, and it was just 15 matches in the same course. This year, Annecy signed him after gaining promotion from the Championnat National to Ligue 2. And with them, his time has come.


Callens, regular starter in this edition of the Coupe, has played all six matches of the competition: first, victories against modest Diables Combani, Lyon La Duchère and Villerupt-Thil. Then the agony. With that of Marseille there are three penalties passed in the last rounds … against ASM Belfort, Paris and OM. In total, the Brest goalkeeper saved seven penalties between regular time and the shoot-out.


In the Vélodrome match he was the hero. He took Alexis one on one, he saved the Chilean’s penalty in the 86th minute and saved another penalty in the final shoot-out against Nuno Tavares. Finally, the sentence of Leonardo Balerdi condemned the men of Igor Tudor and granted Annecy a historic triumph.


“Happiness is difficult to describe, I don’t realize it, it’s wonderful for the club, for the fans… for us because we deserve it, it’s not stolen, it’s magic. I have no words, I’m in adrenaline, it’s incredible. Sanctions? There is work, instinct, analysis, it’s not just a lottery, there is a game, it worked well for us” Callens said after the match, elated.


Callens earned an 8/10 ‘L’Équipe’ positive note after his performance against Marseille and is already aiming for his next rival. This Thursday they will know if Lyon, Nantes or Toulouse will be their opponents in the semifinals.

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