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Gradel and Toulouse frustrated in Caen

Publish on 25/04/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Max-Alain Gradel pushed and probed, but Toulouse FC were held to a 0-0 draw at the Stade Michel d'Ornano, leaving both sides looking over their shoulders at the relegation struggle below.

 SM Caen 0-0 Toulouse FC 

THE MATCH

Separated by just two points - and places - towards the bottom end of the Ligue 1 Conforama table, 15th-place SM Caen and Toulouse FC, in 17th, kicked off with corresponding 4-3-3 formations which could quickly turn into 4-5-1s when the sides were defending. It made for deadlock for much of the first half. Toulouse mustered a pair of half-chances past the half-hour, but Yaya Sanogo's long shot was comfortably collected by Rémy Vercoutre in the home goal (33') before And Delort headed high after finding himself unmarked at the back post following Max-Alain Gradel's corner (41'). Caen ended the half with 60 percent of possession but not shot on target to show for it and the sides went in at the interval with the scores at 0-0.

Deadlock

Delort - starting out wide here with Sanogo through the middle - saw a cross-cum-shot from just beyond the halfway line graze Vercoutre's post (62') before Youssef Aït Bennasser had similar attempt, albeit more central, at the other end, which beat Alban Lafont but not the youngster's woodwork (73'). Most of the traffic was flowing in Le Téfécé's favour, though. Gradel and Delort combined beautifully before the former saw his acrobatic volley sail narrowly wide (75'). Caen could have stolen all three points near the end, but TFC captain Christopher Jullien recovered to deny Ronny Rodelin at the last (85') and it ended honours even.

THE PLAYER: Max-Alain Gradel

The lack of goals wasn't for the want of trying; at least not on Toulouse's part and certainly not Gradel's. The Côte d'Ivoire winger was the most adventurous player on the park, laying on both first-half chances before coming inches away from an impressive winner, and his seven goals and one Ligue 1 Conforama assist this season mean parent club Bournemouth may be keen to have him back next season after all.

THE STAT: 4

Caen have kept a clean sheet in their last three home matches against Toulouse in all competitions. The last time the Normandy club's net bulged against Le Téfécé was back in September 2011, when Étienne Capoue - now of Watford - scored in a 1-0 win.