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Montpellier and Troyes share the spoils

Publish on 11/05/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Montpellier Hérault SC and ESTAC Troyes wrestled to a 1-1 draw at the Stade de la Mosson, with Karim Azamoum's opener for the visitors (31') cancelled out by Nicolas Cozza's strike (58') for the hosts.

 Montpellier Hérault SC 1-1 ESTAC Troyes 

THE MATCH

Montpellier had a pair of chances from dead balls inside the opening quarter of an hour, but Daniel Congré headed over Erwin Zelazny's goal from a corner (7') before Giovanni Sio was called back for offside with Keagan Dolly's through-ball looking to have unlocked the Troyes defence (14'). Ambroise Oyongo then drew a save from Zelazny, whose parry fell to Sio. The forward intelligently tried to lob a header over the 'keeper, but it sailed just over (16'). Dolly then tried to tee up Casmimir Ninga for a shot in the Troyes box, but the Chadian striker missed the ball (26'). It was rather against the run of play, then, when Troyes took the lead with Azamoum thumping home in off the crossbar following a corner (31'). Having endured a difficult start, Troyes ended the half confidently, and Benjamin Nivet was desperately unlucky to see a shot hit the post after a good turn and volley in the Montpellier box (40').

Even Stevens

Chaouki Ben Saada came close to doubling Troyes' advantage early in the second half, but after generating space for himself on the left, the Tunisia midfielder's shot found the outside side-netting (48'). Michel Der Zakarian's side got back on level terms inside the hour, though, when Cozza picked the ball up on the edge of the Troyes area before thundering home his first senior goal (58'). Isaac Mbenza should have put La Paillade ahead but his half volley sailed just wide of the Troyes goal (63'). When Paul Lasne later got a thumping shot of his own on target he found Zelazny well-positioned to make the save (69'). Mbenza then saw a shot shave Zelazny's post (88') and there was still time for high drama at the other end, with Ninga unable to steady himself after a counter-attack which surely would have given Troyes all three points (90+1').

THE PLAYER: Erwin Zelazny

Troyes remain in the automatic relegation places but the fact they still have hope going into the final day of the season is thanks in no small part to Zelazny. On recent performances it seems barely fathomable that the Nantes academy graduate only made himself undisputed first choice at the start of the year, having first signed for the Champagne club in in the summer of 2016.

THE STAT: 6

Montpellier have now failed to win at home in their last six Ligue 1 Conforama matches. MHSC's last victors in front of their own fans came in early February when they beat Angers SCO 2-1.