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Guingamp bow out with a bang

Publish on 17/05/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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EA Guingamp's final home game ended with a 2-2 draw against Nîmes Olympique, the hosts pegged back having taken a two-goal lead.

EA Guingamp 2-2 Nîmes Olympique 

THE MATCH

Guingamp were keen to bow out of Ligue 1 Conforama on a high in front of their home fans, but it was Nîmes who threatened first with Denis Bouanga firing wide (2'). Home nerves were settled soon after, though, when Marcus Thuram picked up on Ludovic Blas' pass and fired home the ninth goal of what has been bittersweet campaign on a personal level for him (6'). Thuram then latched onto a Pedro Rebocho ball forward before sending the ball into the visitors' box, but teammate Alexandre Mendy was subsequently blocked (16'). Nîmes had a gilt-edged chance to get back on level terms midway through the half when Jordan Ferri found Theo Valls at the back post, but the midfielder's shot was blocked by Félix Eboa Eboa (26'). Most of the first-half traffic was flowing in the other direction, though, and after Mehdi Merghem forced a save from Paul Bernardoni (29'), Guingamp deservedly doubled their lead, with Mendy ghosting in unmarked to convert following a Rebocho cross (35').

Les Crocodiles snap back

Whatever Bernard Blaquart said to his Crocodiles at half-time seemed to spur them into action, and they came out for the second half with renewed bite. Less than 10 minutes were gone when Renaud Ripart pulled a goal back, volleying home Anthony Briançon's cross to leave Guingamp 'keeper Marc-Aurèle Caillard with no chance (53'). The visitors were back on level terms minutes later thanks to Bounga, who was left with a simple finish following Antonin Bobichon's corner (57'). Nîmes looked set to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat when Ripart found space at the edge of the box late on, but his shot hit a defender, then the crossbar, and stayed out (75'). With the home fans in full voice, the Bretons lifted their game for the final 10 minutes, and Caillard's opposite number Paul Bernardoni had to pull off a pair of fine saves to deny first Jordan Ikoko (84') and then Eboa Eboa (90'+2) and it ended 2-2.

THE PLAYER: Marcus Thuram

Guingamp may be going down but Thuram has enjoyed his best attacking return to date this season, with nine Ligue 1 Conforama goals and one assist. The son of former French World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, Marcus has thrived playing in a withdrawn attacking role on the left instead of leading the line, and few eyebrows would be raised if a top-flight club comes in for him this summer.

THE STAT: 413

Ripart's goal for Nîmes was Les Crocodiles' first ever at Guingamp's Stade de Roudourou. Since their first meeting in August 1999, the Bretons had held firm at home to Saturday's visitors for 413 minutes of football.