Angers leapfrog Troyes in relegation scrap
Angers SCO lifted themselves out of the drop zone - with ESTAC Troyes replacing them - thanks to a 3-1 win over Jean-Louis Garcia's side on Wednesday evening.
Angers SCO 3-1 ESTAC Troyes
Separated by just two points at kick-off, Angers and Troyes fought a dogged fight at the Stade Raymond Kopa, with chances at either end. Troyes looked like they might draw first blood when Adama Niane powered a low shot on the home goal, but Ludovic Butelle palmed his effort wide (16'). When Butelle couldn't get there with his hands, he used his feet, turning away Samuel Grandsir's effort soon after (20'). With Butelle holding the fort, it was the hosts who took the lead when Romain Thomas nodded Thomas Mangani's free-kick into an unguarded ESTAC net (33'). The visitors nearly levelled before the half was out, this time Bryan Pelé finding Butelle in miserly mood (42') and Angers carried their lead into the break.
Angers make sure
The second half was less than ten minutes old when Troyes restored parity with Saîf-Eddine Khaoui reacting quickest to Niane's deflected shot to poke home on the rebound (52'), but Angers remained on the front foot, and after Pierrick Capelle saw an effort well saved by Mamadou Samassa (56'), Les Scoïstes were again able to restore their advantage with a near carbon copy of the opener, Thomas on hand to head home for 2-1 after meeting a corner at the near post (58'). Capelle kept working hard and got his name on the scoresheet inside the final ten minutes after latching onto Karl Toko Ekambi's through-ball (81') and it ended 3-1 to Stéphane Moulin's side, who pull into 15th, with Troyes replacing them in the relegation play-off place.
THE PLAYER: Romain Thomas
Butelle put in an impressive performance in the home goal, but Thomas scoring two headers alongside his own imposing defensive made it an evening to remember for the hulking centre-back. An amateur player until as recently as 2013, the 29-year-old looks comfortable and then some in the French top flight.
THE STAT: 22
Angers pumped 22 crosses into the Troyes box, some ten more than their visitors managed to deliver. All three of their goals originated in wide areas. Moulin got his tactics spot on.