Stephy Mavididi and Stéphane Bahoken exchanged goals as Montpellier Hérault SC and Angers SCO wrestled to a 1-1 draw in Sunday's early kick-off.
Angers welcomed Montpellier to an under-construction Stade Raymond Kopa with just two places and four points to make up on their visitors in mid-table, and they were the better team in the first half. Pierrick Capelle might have had the first real chance of the game when he was picked out by Antonin Bobichon, but he mishit the ball having had more time than he realised (17'). Ibrahim Amadou came significantly closer minutes later, the Sevilla-owned midfielder firing narrowly wide following a cutback from Souleyman Doumbia (22'). At the other end, Andy Delort blazed an effort high and wide from distance when he had two teammates up ahead on the right, begging for a through-ball (28'). Amadou nearly punished that profligacy when he burst through and let fly for the bottom corner, but Jessy Omlin in the Montpellier goal saved well (31') and Florent Batta's whistle for half-time went with the deadlock intact.
Don't look back in Angers?
Having failed to record a single shot on target in the first half, Montpellier scored with their first attempt of the second. Ismaël Traoré failed to deal with a Junior Sambia cross, and Mavididi was on hand at the back post to nod home his fifth goal in six games (47'). Angers coach Stéphane Moulin then sent attacker Loïs Diony on for defensive midfielder Amadou (65') and his attempts to disrupt the balance of the game worked, but not before Delort twice let them off the hook. The forward danced his way through and sat Paul Bernardoni down before the home 'keeper recovered to catch his attempted lob (68'), and he then blazed over the bar when clean through on goal (72'). Instead it was Bahoken who had the final say, the Angers striker getting the break of the ball after a hopeful punt forward and poking home his sixth goal of the campaign (72'). Gaëtan Laborde fired into the side-netting with the Angers goal at his mercy 80') and it ended 1-1.
THE PLAYER: Ibrahim Amadou
Nominally a defensive midfielder whose second position is as a centre-back, Amadou was part of a double pivot here alongside Thomas Mangani, and he enjoyed the freedom afforded by the club's defensively-disciplined third captain before going off with a head injury. Amadou had not scored a senior professional goal for just shy of four years when he hit a brace in Angers' Coupe de France win over Club Franciscain in March, but many more can be expected now with the way Moulin has him playing.
THE STAT: 9
Montpellier remain undefeated in their last nine matches in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, a run stretching back to January, when they were edged 2-1 by RC Lens. Four of the games since have been draws, though, and they will need to recover their shooting boots if they are to have a late charge for a European place, especially with the likes of Olympique de Marseille and LOSC still to play.