Max-Alain Gradel's stoppage-time free-kick rescued a point for Toulouse FC in a 1-1 draw with SM Caen on Sunday.
Toulouse FC 1 - 1 SM Caen
Captain Gradel showed the way for the home side at Le Stadium as he curled in a free-kick a minute into added time at the end of the game to allow Toulouse to stay at arms length from the Ligue 1 Conforama relegation zone.
Before that it seemed that Caen would claim a precious victory in their first match since the confirmation of the veteran former Olympique de Marseille coach Rolland Courbis's arrival as an adviser to coach Fabien Mercadal.
The Normandy side had an early goal disallowed following a VAR review, with Malik Tchokounté ruled to have fouled home goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet as he headed in from close range.
Caen then defended stoutly before opening the scoring right on half-time. Reynet stretched to get a fingertip to a Tchokounté shot, but Enzo Crivelli followed in to convert the loose ball for his fifth of the season (45+3'). It was their first goal in six Ligue 1 Conforama matches, ending a goal drought of almost 500 minutes.
Toulouse pressed for an equaliser in the second half but it looked like it would not be their day when Kelvin Amian hit the post with just five minutes to go. But then the hosts won a free-kick in a central position just outside the area when Ismaël Diomandé brought down Christopher Jullien, a foul which earned the Caen player a second yellow card and a red.
Gradel duly delivered, keeping Toulouse eight points clear of Caen, who are now in the relegation play-off spot, above Dijon FCO in 19th on goal difference, albeit having played a game more.
THE PLAYER: Max-Alain Gradel
Gradel is Toulouse's star man, and the Ivory Coast international underlined his importance with his late strike which took his tally of league goals this season to 10. Alain Casanova's team have only scored 25 Ligue 1 Conforama goals in total.
THE STAT: 11
Toulouse have now gone 11 home games without winning since beating Nîmes Olympique 1-0 back on August 25. They have not won any of their last five league games, home or away. Nevertheless, it is now seven league matches without a victory for Caen.