Mbenza lifts Montpellier past Angers
Montpellier Hérault SC beat Angers SCO 2-1, with Isaac Mbenza grabbing the winner (71') after Karl Toko Ekambi (pen. 20') and Paul Lasne (42') had exchanged goals.
Montpellier Hérault SC 2-1 Angers SCO
Things got off to a lively start at the Stade de la Mosson, with Angers SCO desperately unlucky not to take the lead inside the first five minutes. Prince Oniangué shot on the turn only to see MHSC 'keeper Benjamin Lecomte push his effort clear, before Pierrick Capelle crashed the rebound off the crossbar (3'). Just two points above the drop zone at kick-off, Angers looked like a team at the other end of the table, and they took a deserved lead midway through the half when Toko Ekambi drew a penalty from Lecomte before stepping up to convert his 11th goal of the campaign (20'). That Montpellier got back on level terms with their first shot on goal at the end of the half was rough justice, with Lasne's shot taking the tourist route off two defenders before finding a home in Ludovic Butelle's goal (42').
After a fine first half showing, Lecomte nearly undid his hard work at the start of the second with a poorly weighted pass for his centre-back Pedro Mendes, but with Toko Ekambi bearing down on him he recovered to spare his blushes (50'). It proved to be the catalyst Montpellier needed. Michel Der Zakarian threw Mbenza into the fray for Keagan Dolly soon after (68') and three minutes later he found the winner, lashing home first time after some smart interplay between Souleymane Camara, Jonathan Ikoné and Lasne (71'). Billy Ketkeophomphone teed up Toko Ekambi for an effort that flew narrowly wide late on (86') before an audacious attempt of his own from close to the halfway line (90+1') but it stayed out and it ended 2-1 to the hosts.
THE PLAYER: Benjamin Lecomte
Apart from his near-howler early in the second-half, Lecomte was solid throughout, with his saves making victory at the other end possible. With fan favourite Laurent Pionnier turning 36 in May, the signing of Lecomte from FC Lorient at the start of the season was a necessary one, and with every performance like this one, further credit to the club for recruiting his services.
THE STAT: 20
Toko Ekambi's penalty was only the 20th goal Montpellier have conceded in Ligue 1 Conforama this season. Only league leaders Paris Saint-Germain have conceded fewer (17).