Perpignan, day of the lords and of the Catalan fury

Usap remains in the Top 14. After a tough match in Mont-de-Marsan, the Catalans achieved what no other elite team had achieved. The winners of the day were proud but not satisfied.

This Sunday, at 4 pm, Mont-de-Marsan suddenly became Catalan land. The approximately 3,000 irreducible Sang et Or who had come to the Landes had been warming up the vocal cords around Guy-Boniface for a good half hour when the arrival of the Perpignan bus set fire to the sidewalk. The five minutes of popular effervescence, between smoke bombs, group songs and horns, gave all their importance and resonance to the deadline: this Sunday, Mathieu Acebes and his people were both on a crusade and on a mission. It was no longer a matter of logic or purpose but of duty. Knowing that there is nothing worse than an unfulfilled promise …

During the last eighty minutes that awaited them there, Patrick Arlettaz’s men had to fulfill their hopes and progress for a whole year. On the Montois pitch, surprising for nine months but suffering for a few weeks, the Sang et Or had a date with themselves. The sage Damien Chouly summed it up during the week: “We will have the destiny of a club in our hands. This, it is necessary to understand and approach this challenge with the knife between the teeth, as if it were a final, without having the handbrake. (…) We have a status to defend. And there is still something to prove. A past to accept. And a future to clarify. All the Catalan fans present in Boniface this Sunday were convinced of the imminence of a happy ending: their favorites had not been able to overthrow La Rochelle, Clermont, Toulouse, Racing, Bordeaux or go to win Aguilera to die in the Landes . Not so. Not after all that.

Gentlemen’s Day

But it must be said, an “access-match” – this final that has no name, between two teams that do not evolve at the same level, one has everything to lose and the other wins – unlike no other poster. Grenoble, Oyonnaxiens and Bayonnais could all testify, all defeated in this phase of the competition. The Perpignan learned it at their expense with a creepy start, to the advantage of the Landais who were amazing in their freshness and mastery. Leading by seven points after ten minutes, the Catalans faced a great challenge: maintaining control of their nerves. Of all his performances this season, his resistance in this particular context will continue to be one of the most significant armed feats. Because it was D-Day, the day when you had to be big rather than bright. Usap does not have the most talented workforce in France but can count on great men to keep the course: Genesis Mamea Lemalu, charging machine, was as always discouraging, Seilala Lam, a real electric battery, is multiplying again, Piula Fa ‘asalele and Mathieu Acebes are two born captains … And we continue, from Jaminet to Ecochard passing through Lotrian and Oviedo. The former France Pro D2 champions with steel nerves needed to keep in touch. And a bit of success as in this first penalty by Léo Coly sent by the post, in the two golden opportunities seized by Willie du Plessis before and after the break or in this cleared blocked by Tristan Tedder. Luck had not been there on the 26th. She was there on Sunday. Better late than never

“Let’s raise the bar”

Draws at the break, the Sang et Or had to continue to force their fate during the last forty minutes of their season. In numerical superiority, Usap saw his three-quarters continue the work of the strikers. Character has its virtues, so does talent. Melvyn Jaminet made a superb strike after 56 minutes with a shot straight in front of the goal after a long ball through the middle, but one of the visitors’ defenders got a foot in at the last second and warded it off for a corner. As a symbol, the light had come out of the shadow man. Two new festivals in the background allowed Lucas Dubois, Pascal Bomati’s nephew, and Tristan Tedder, one of the great satisfactions of the season, to move from optimism to ecstasy. The Catalan colony could rejoice. “It’s a great sigh of relief for everyone,” smiled Captain Mathieu Acebes. It’s a great pride, we’ve got it. “
However, this victory is not an end in itself. More like a step. “I don’t want us to go back, I want the club to be structured, I want Aimé-Giral to be full all the time, to raise the bar. Be it the players, the staff, the fans. I think we deserved better this year. I want us to look for different maintenance from this one next season. The new commando mission approaching the horizon will still be rich in excitement and twists and turns. She can wait a few weeks. After so much effort, Blood and Gold and its people have deserved some consolation.

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