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Dijon cut the mustard against Reims

Publish on 09/03/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Despite going down to ten men early on, relegation-threatened Dijon FCO held on to draw 1-1 with Stade de Reims, with Naïm Sliti's penalty cancelling out Arber Zeneli's opener for the visitors.

 Dijon FCO 1-1 Stade de Reims 

THE MATCH

Dijon welcome Reims to the Stade Gaston Gérard without a win in their previous five Ligue 1 Conforama games, and they could barely have got off to a worse start in front of their home support, with centre-back Senou Coulibaly given his marching orders for a foul on Boulaye Dia (4'). To the hosts' relief, Rémi Oudin fired the subsequent free-kick over the crossbar (5'). Reims didn't have to wait long to break the deadlock, though. Baba Rahman's cross-cum-shot was pushed to the back post by Bobby Allain, and Zeneli was on hand to make it 1-0 (9'). Dijon got themselves back on level terms less than five minutes later, though. Thomas Foket handballed in the Reims area, referee Florent Batta pointed to the spot, and Sliti stepped up to steer the ball past Edouard Mendy for 1-1 (13'). Reims still looked like they would capitalise on their numerical advantage, and would have pulled back ahead midway through the half had Zeneli's lob over Allain not bounced back off the post (24'). Oudin was the next to try his luck, picking up on a loose pass at the back, but his effort sailed narrowly wide (33'). Dia then fluffed his lines with the goal at his mercy (39') and the sides went in for the break on level terms.

Dijon hold on

Baba has not been assured of his place at left-back since joining Reims from Chelsea on loan in January, but he looked bright here, and nearly opened his account for the Champagne club when Tristan Dingomé laid him off, but the celebrations were put on ice with his effort sailing wide (51'). Zeneli then forced a save from Allain as Reims poured it on (53'). Oudin fired wide (68') before second-half substitute Pablo Chavarria found the outside side-netting as the one-way traffic continued (79'), and Mathieu Cafaro should have scored when he got on-on-one with Allain late on, but the danger was quelled by Allain (87'). There was still time, and sufficient belief in the home ranks, for Dijon to come close to stealing all three points for themselves, but Yunis Abdelhamid  beat Julio Tavares to Oussama Haddadi's cross (90') and it ended 1-1.

THE PLAYER: Bobby Allain

Whilst Dijon's draw was a collective effort following Coulibaly's early red card, the sending off left Allain in particular exposed. He seemed to relish the ensuing onslaught on his goal, pulling off a string of good saves. That Antoine Kombouaré made Allain his No.1 at Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson's expense when he took charge in January is looking increasingly shrewder.

THE STAT: 12

Reims remain undefeated in their last 12 matches. Les Rouges have not dropped all three points since December, when they were edged 1-0 by Toulouse FC. European Cup finalists in 1959, the Champagne club can afford to dream of a return to Europe - Marseille, who occupy the fourth and final European place, are only one point away.