Valenciennes FC eliminated second division side Nimes Olympique and advanced to the round of 16 in French Coupe de la Ligue after a thrilling 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory in Stade des Costieres. Korean midfielder Nam Tae-Hee got a rare opportunity to start for the away side and played all 120 minutes including extra time.
Nam started as an attacking midfielder in manager Phillipe Montanier‘s 4-3-3. It was a traditional cup match in knock-out stages as both sides played extremely compact, not allowing Nam to enjoy much time and space. However, the 19 year-old still managed to display flashes of his skills and attacking traits, especially in the 33rd minute as his well-struck shot from outside the box forced Ludovic Butelle to a fine save.
Nimes took the lead in the 40th minute with a go-ahead goal by Togolese striker Jonathan Ayite, but Nam, although only in spurts, continued to show attacking ambitions with his runs and passing as the Ulsan native was given the responsibility to spearhead Valenciennes’ three-man midfield.
Nam, who hasn’t featured this season for Montanier’s side outside of the 20-minute appearance against Montpellier in Ligue 1 last month, inevitably found it difficult to combine with his teammates despite the active individual work he put in on the attacking end.
Valenciennes, having played the entire second half trailing by a goal, grabbed a miraculous equalizer deep into stoppage time as Renaud Cohade hit the back of the net following a corner-kick and forced the match into extra time.
Shortly after the start of extra time, Nam was troubled with a leg cramp and left the match momentarily for treatment, but returned to the pitch within minutes.
The match, tied at 1-1, went into penalty shoot-out where all five of Valenciennes’ penalty takers converted successfully. The away side punched its ticket to the round of 16 as Nicolas Penneteau saved Nimes’ fifth penalty taker Abderaouf Zarabi’s shot.