A 1-1 draw of few clear chances saw AJ Auxerre and OGC Nice end the afternoon still stuck in the bottom half of Ligue 1, as the hosts’ interim boss Michel Padovani proved unable to halt what is now a seven-game winless run.
With both sides entering this contest only marginally above the bottom four, the opening exchanges lacked much in the way of cohesion. However, Andy Delort would prove the difference after missing an early header, opening the scoring in the 20th minute. Khéphren Thuram dribbled past a static Auxerre defence, and he squared across goal to the frontman, who had the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into the net.
Having taken their second-lowest points tally from the opening ten Ligue 1 games prior to kick-off, Auxerre desperately needed a response. In a 20-minute period that saw Nice’s chief threat Delort withdrawn through injury, Auxerre played with greater purpose, and the home faithful finally had cause to celebrate on the stroke of HT. A well-worked corner found Nuno da Costa, who planted a bullet header into the corner past a helpless Kasper Schmeichel.
Auxerre took that momentum onto the field after HT, enjoying the majority of possession and coming close to taking a lead just before the hour mark, when Lassine Sinayoko sent a shot from the edge of the box wide. A similar fate also befell Nice’s Jordan Lotomba, sending an even more dangerous chance into the advertising hoardings after receiving a clinical pass.
The hosts responded through Hamza Sakhi, who forced an unsighted Schmeichel into a low save with a shot through a crowd of players. Far from spark a late charge from Auxerre, that chance gave way to an endgame dreadfully short on quality in the final third, though there was time enough for Ross Barkley to wide narrowly wide, before M'Baye Niang hit the post on the volley after a high ball found him in the 88th minute.
A draw was fair on reflection, and if there could be any moral victor, Auxerre might shade that description. The point is enough to see them escape the bottom four, while the outcome also represents an eighth unbeaten result across their last nine top-flight home clashes with Nice.
Nantes came from behind to beat Stade Brestois 4-1, the 11th time La Maison Jaune have won in their last 13 home Ligue 1 H2Hs.
A cagey start could have been expected, considering these sides entered the match as Ligue 1’s bottom two clubs, but that couldn’t be further from what unfolded. Having delivered a cross that Ludovic Blas couldn’t turn in, Moses attempted another ball that Noah Fadiga handled. But Blas spurned his opportunity again as Marco Bizot was equal to his 12th-minute penalty, with Simon turning his follow-up wide.
After almost costing his team defensively, Fadiga punished Nantes’ wastefulness just six minutes after the penalty save by latching onto Mathias Pereira Lage’s pass, then squeezing his effort through Alban Lafont’s outstretched hands. In another twist to a thrilling game, Nantes then had another penalty shortly after the half-hour mark when Pierre Lees-Melou caught Ignacius Ganago. Simon took control this time and converted despite Bizot diving the correct way.
La Maison Jaune had waited 580 minutes for that goal, but they had another in a matter of seconds, as Ganago raced up the pitch from kick-off to dispossess Achraf Dari before finishing clinically. That set up the Nantes faithful for a tense second half, and any nerves won’t have been helped by Islam Slimani hitting a shot on the turn that drifted agonisingly wide. There was a triple-change for Brest as they searched for an equaliser, but it was Mostafa Mohamed who was soon celebrating as he coolly slotted home after Antoine Kombouaré's substitute Moussa Sissoko won possession just outside Brest’s box.
Sissoko then latched onto Blas’ inviting pass to coolly finish for his first Nantes goal, as La Maison Jaune ended their seven-game winless run in all competitions to climb out of the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Brest have just one point from their last five matches and remain bottom of the Ligue 1 table.
The 100th Ligue 1 clash between Stade Rennais and Olympique Lyonnais witnessed Les Rouge et Noir edge Les Gones by a 3-2 scoreline at the Roazhon Park, inflicting the visitors' sixth winless league game this campaign.
The encounter began in a rather outlandish fashion, as referee Stéphanie Frappart was brought down unintentionally by Moussa Dembélé in the middle of the pitch, forcing a four-minute delay. However, once the match resumed, it didn’t take long for morale-high Rennes to stamp their authority on the game with successive opportunities - the best of which saw Christopher Wooh send his header inches past the crossbar from point-blank range on the quarter-hour mark.
Despite the ascendancy by Bruno Génésio’s men in the initial stages, it was Laurent Blanc who saw his side open the scoring in his first match in charge. A brilliant cross by Nicolás Tagliafico found Alexandre Lacazette loitering in the box, as the ex-Arsenal forward rose high to head past a helpless Steve Mandanda - the Frenchman’s fifth first half goal this season. Mustering motivation from that chance, Lyon aimed to inflict further damage, but instead saw themselves concede before the break via Martin Terrier who glanced a header in-off the left post following Benjamin Bourigeaud’s wonderful pass.
French U21 international Amine Gouiri handed Les Rennais the lead immediately after the restart, taking full advantage of a defensive mishap and banging home his side’s second from inside the six-yard box. It was the 24th goal the Brittany natives have been in presence of in the second-half this Ligue 1 season – the most amongst top-flight sides.
Lacazette doubled his tally for the afternoon, pouncing on a rebound that luckily fell in his path, with just over 15 minutes remaining. Perhaps inspired by the roaring home crowd, the hosts struck back to take the lead just minutes later, with Terrier bagging his brace with a calm headed finish following some brilliant team play. Having put in an impactful performance, Terrier hands Rennes all three points for just the second time in 13 home games against Lyon, who continue their miserable form with a sixth straight winless match.
Flashscore Man of the Match: Martin Terrier (Stade Rennais)
AC Ajaccio moved to within a point of safety in Ligue 1 as an 89th minute equaliser from Mounaim El Idrissy salvaged a point against Troyes at the Stade de l’Aube. Bruno Irles’ hosts are now without a clean sheet in 13 league outings and winless in their last three games.
Ajaccio nearly took the lead, as Kevin Spadanuda got on the end of a pass and took a low shot from the edge of the box, but it was a comfortable save for Mateusz Lis. The visitors were on the front foot and searching for the opening goal and nearly found it, as Bevic Moussiti-Oko headed narrowly over from close range. Troyes grew into the game and their first opportunity came after 30 minutes, as Yasser Larouci fired a shot narrowly wide of the left post.
L’ours retook control and were awarded a penalty when Abdu bundled Mounaim El Idrissy to the ground as he chased down a ball over the top. After a lengthy VAR check the spot-kick was given, but was saved as Lis denied Riad Nouri from 12 yards. Not dismayed by spurning that chance, Ajaccio went close again just before the break, as Moussiti-Oko was denied by a great save from Lis in the middle of the goal. Chances continued to go begging as the visitors wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead as Moussiti-Oko’s cross looped over the keeper leaving the Congo international with an open goal, but he somehow headed wide.
Troyes almost went ahead just after the break, as Florian Tardieu fired towards goal from just inside the box but a fantastic block from an Ajaccio defender kept the scores level. Moussiti-Oko went close again, as the forward fired a shot a whisker wide of the right post. The game began to open up with both sides seeing more chances, as Mickael Barreto went close for Ajaccio as he drove a shot narrowly wide from range that had the goalkeeper worried.
Troyes took the lead with 15 minutes left to play through a lethal counter attack. Jackson Porozo raced onto a long ball over the top from Rony Lopes before slotting a shot beyond Benjamin Leroy and into the bottom corner. Despite boasting the worst attack in the division, Ajaccio continued to believe and equalised in the 89th minute. El Idrissy was in the right place at the right time to rifle home a rebound and rescue a point for the visitors, a hard-earned result after nearly doubling the shooting output of their hosts.