Strasbourg hold nerve against Troyes
RC Strasbourg Alsace scored twice in four minutes to earn a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers ESTAC Troyes on Sunday and ease their fears of relegation.
RC Strasbourg Alsace 2-1 ESTAC Troyes
With just three points between Strasbourg in 14th and Troyes second from bottom, who also had a match in hand, at kick-off, both teams knew the stakes were high.
Strasbourg had won in the Coupe de France in midweek while their visitors had lost, but Troyes had played a 24 hours earlier, and Jean-Louis Garcia's men were undoubtedly the fresher in the first half.
Saïf-Eddine Khaoui teed up Rémi Walter for a shot Alexander Oukidja did well to hold (22'), and the Strasbourg goalkeeper was fortunate to see Adama Niané and Samuel Grandsir get in each other's way when he had parred Christophe Hérelle's close-range effort (41').
Clearly inspired by their coach, Thierry Laurey, at the break, Strasbourg found new energy in the second half. Anthony Gonçalves, a midweek goalscorer in the cup win over Grenoble, went close (46'), and though Oukidja was required to deny Charles Traoré (51'), the hosts were in the ascendancy.
Only Traoré's last-ditch challenge prevented Jérémy Blayac from opening the scoring (62') before Jean-Eudes Aholou did just that, exchanging passes with Martin Terrier before smashing home his effort from 20 metres (65').
Four minutes later, Blayac was in the right place at the right time for Strasbourg to fire past Erwin Zelazny after Terrier had helped on a Pablo Martinez cross into the penalty area (69').
Khaoui tested Oukidja (82') as Troyes fought desperately to get something from the game, and they did eventually with Niané finding the net in added time (90+3').
THE PLAYER: Jean-Eudes Aholou
An unsung hero of Strasbourg's season, the 23-year-old has had to step up to Ligue 1 Conforama level for the first time in his career, and has done so comfortably. With four goals from a defensive midfield position, his contribution has been crucial.
THE STAT: 8
Troyes have now lost their last eight away games in the league.