Cabella strike lifts champions
By I. Holyman
Rémy Cabella scored the only goal of the game to ease Montpellier Hérault SC away from the relegation zone and deny Girondins de Bordeaux the chance to go top of Ligue 1 on Sunday.
Montpellier Hérault SC 1 - 0 Girondins de Bordeaux
The French Under-21 international struck 22 minutes from time to register his fourth L1 goal of the season, and inch the reigning champions into the relative comfort of mid-table. Having arrived at the Stade de la Mosson in confident mood, Bordeaux were left to rue missed first-half opportunities and a lacklustre second half as their run of five successive victories in all competitions came to an end.
The defeat to Arsenal in midweek had ended Montpellier's hopes of joining Bordeaux in the knockout stages of the Europa League; and bruised ribs sustained in north London deprived the hosts of first-choice goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren. His replacement, Laurent Pionnier, must have hoped he would enjoy a quiet second L1 start of the season as his team started positively. Marco Estrada rattled the frame of the goal, and Bordeaux nerves, with a wickedly delivered corner while Souleymane Camara sent a header wide from another set-piece by the Chilean.
But Bordeaux, who had beaten Club Brugge on Thursday to keep their own European adventure going, eventually warmed to their task. Abdelhamid El Kaoutari produced a great block to stop Yoan Gouffran's shot, though the Bordeaux forward's need for a second touch on the edge of the box had given the Montpellier defender the fraction of a second he required to lunge in.
The home back four were split open once again by Henri Saivet's majestic through ball for Nicolas Maurice-Belay, but though the former FC Sochaux Montbéliard man rounded Pionnier, he could not muster enough power in his shot from an ever-tightening angle, allowing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to clear.
The French international centre-back seemed to feel sorry for his opponent as he then sent what was supposed to be a clearing header straight to Maurice-Belay's feet, but the Bordeaux man's wayward finish ended in the stands behind Pionnier's goal.
The break seemed to suck the ambition from Bordeaux while giving a second wind to the hosts, and Camara sent another header wide before Cabella stabbed a shot at Carrasso. The Bordeaux goalkeeper made a comfortable save, but was beaten soon after when Cabella superbly brought down Romain Pitau's ball before somehow finding the gap between Carrasso and the near post to fire into the far corner.
Only an excellent Ludovic Sané block prevented Camara from at the very least testing Carrasso's reflexes, and Yanga-Mbiwa had a goal - rightly - chalked off after the ball had run out of play before Younes Belhanda had cut it back to his team-mate. Bordeaux, however, were unable to capitalise on their good fortune as they suffered a fourth straight 1-0 loss at Montpellier in all competitions.