FC Metz and SM Caen played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday that leaves the struggling duo still in the thick of the fight for Ligue 1 Conforama survival.
FC Metz 1-1 SM Caen
Metz had beaten Stade Rennais FC to end a winless nine-game run last weekend, but SM Caen had defeated their hosts in a penalty shoot-out earlier in their Coupe de France run which ended with a semi-final defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
Given both teams needed points in an attempt to save their top-flight skins with Metz bottom of the table and Caen just outside the bottom three, the game was bound to be tight.
The hosts would have seized the initiative through Emmanuel Rivière, but he saw Rémy Vercoutre make a fine save to push out his close-range volley (18'), and the former AS Monaco and AS Saint-Etienne man then sent a header just wide (19').
Ronny Rodelin replied - firing straight at Eiji Kawashima (21') - for a Caen side that had lost their last four league outings before the visitors benefitted from an unwitting Rivière block to a Julian Palmieri piledriver (33').
The Normandy visitors also enjoyed a helpful offside flag when Fallou Diagne thought he had put Metz in front (45+3'), and Matthieu Dossevi passed up a good scoring chance (63') before the game burst into life.
Rivière was heavily involved in the move that led to Damian Da Silva putting through his own goal (71') - the Metz striker's header ricocheting into the net off the Caen centre-back - but Ligue 1 Conforama's bottom side could not celebrate their lead for long.
When Rodelin and Diagne battled for a corner, the ball dropped for Jessy Deminguet, who brilliantly scissor-kicked his first top-flight goal in majestic style (73').
Caen might have snatched it, but Kawashima came out on top in his one-on-one duel with Frédéric Guilbert to keep his team's hopes of staying up alive - just - and leave Patrice Garande's men still nervously looking over their shoulders.
THE PLAYER: Eiji Kawashima
The Japan international has been Metz's stand-out performer this season. His save from Guilbert might not keep his club in the top flight, but it at least ensures they still have a fighting chance.
THE STAT: 1-in-13
Caen have won just one of their last 13 away games in Ligue 1, losing nine times.