Mutu denies Nancy
By D. Crossan
Adrian Mutu's 'Panenka' penalty deprived bottom club Nancy of their first win since the opening day of the season, the Ajaccio forward cancelling out Djamel Bakar's fine opener as it finished 1-1.
AS Nancy Lorraine 1-1 AC Ajaccio
The game started at breakneck speed and Ajaccio had three decent chances before Bakar opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Mutu had two of them but the best of the three fell to Eduardo whose low shot from Sigamaray Diarra's fine low centre from the left was saved well by Guy Roland Ndy Assembé low to his right.
Bakar's classy opener
Bakar was found by Lossemy Karaboué's long ball down the centre. The chance looked to have been lost as the pacy attacker was forced to check back but the former Monaco man tricked his way past Carl Medjani, the visiting captain, before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner of Guillermo Ochoa's net from just outside the penalty area. It was Bakar's first Ligue 1 goal since scoring in the 1-1 draw at Lille in Week 2 and only his 10th in a 128-game Ligue 1 career.
After going in front, Nancy sat back and Ajaccio dominated possession without looking overly dangerous until Mutu crashed a free-kick off the post eight minutes before the interval - the fourth time the Romanian international had hit the woodwork this season. The Nancy rearguard, seeking a first clean sheet since the 1-0 Week 1 home win over Brest, showed valour to block Mutu's indirect free-kick inside the box and Ricardo Faty's follow-up.
Dupont's Ajaccio had been profligate in front of goal in the Week 13 1-0 home loss to Sochaux and it was proving a similar story at the Stade Marcel-Picot as Senegalese international midfielder Faty headed wide a few minutes after the restart.
Mutu 'only' ten goals behind Ibrahimovic
Nancy rarely threatened on the counter and Ochoa had no trouble in saving from Romain Grange after one breakout from Jean Fernandez's men. That Grange shot came just seconds before the midfielder handled a Medjani shot after a corner had not been properly cleared. Referee Olivier Thual had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.
Mutu, who had 10 attempts at goal in the match, scored with the chipped penalty with Ndy Assembé committed to moving to his right. It was an audacious finish from the 33-year-old who is still ten goals behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain in the half-joking challenge Mutu laid down when he joined the Corsican club.
Ajaccio looked the more likely side to push on for the winner yet several promising situations came to naught. A draw didn't really suit either side and Ajaccio are only one point above third-bottom Sochaux. Nancy could be eight points behind 17th depending on how Montpellier fare at home to Bordeaux on Sunday.