Metz stun Montpellier for first win since September
Renaud Cohade (29'), Emmanuel Riviere (84') and Nicolas Basin (90') were on target as bottom Club FC Metz stunned high-flying Montpellier Hérault SC 3-1 on Saturday night.
Montpellier Hérault SC 1-3 FC Metz
Montpellier welcomed Metz to the Stade de Mosson on the cusp of the European places without having tasted defeat in six Ligue 1 Conforama games, and they started well against their basement-dwelling visitors, with Jérôme Rousillon flying past Jonathan Rivierez before lashing his second goal of the season beyond a helpless Eiji Kawashima (20'). Metz refused to let their heads go down after that early set-back, though, and they restored parity midway through the half when Cohade drilled a low shot through a sea of bodies from the outside of the home box (28'). Michel Der Zakarian's side were in the ascendancy - at least in terms of possession - for the rest of the half, but they failed to make it tell, with another Rousillon raid up the left coming to nothing after he had managed to hook a dangerous ball into the area (38').
The Rousillon-Kawashima battle continued into the second half, with the Japanese getting the better of their next encounter, racing off his line to deny the wing-back after a stunning through-ball from Montpellier's age-defying 40-year-old, Hilton (53'). MHSC looked like they would win the game and should have made more of a late free-kick, but Junior Sambia failed to find the power to test Kawashima (82'). The dedicated core of Metz fans who made the 500-mile journey to the south of France were sent home in high spirits after a stunning finish, though, with Ibrahim Niane laying on a tap-in for Riviere (84') before Basin added gloss to the scoreline, getting on the end of another Niane cross following a counter to seal a 3-1 win with his first Ligue 1 Conforama goal (90+4').
THE PLAYER: Ibrahim Niane
Niane only entered the fray in place of Noland Roux with 12 minutes left to play, but what an impact he had. The 18-year-old is a physical specimen at 6 ft 5 in tall and pace to burn, and his positional awareness and selflessness made Metz's late comeback possible.
THE STAT: 12
This was Metz's first Ligue 1 Conforama win since edging Angers SCO 1-0 in Week 6 - 12 games ago. They may still be rooted to the foot of the table, but suddenly the gap between Les Grenats and the clubs dangling precariously over the relegation zone doesn't seem quite so insurmountable.