Toulouse FC are halfway towards ensuring their 14-year stay in Ligue 1 Conforama continues for another season after beating AC Ajaccio 3-0 at Montpellier Hérault SC's Stade de la Mosson.
AC Ajaccio 0-3 Toulouse FC
Toulouse began the match on the front foot and nearly opened the scoring when Yaya Sanogo found space in the Ajaccio box to meet François Moubandje's cross, but Cédric Avinel managed to deflect the chance clear (12'). Jimmy Durmaz (14') and Max Gradel (16') spurned a pair of free-kicks soon after, and the Corsicans nearly punished their profligacy only to see Ghislain Gimbert fire off target with the goal at his mercy (16'). Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont then pushed away a Riad Nouri free-kick (28'). Toulouse finished the have stronger from there - completing 82 percent of their passes compared to Ajaccio's 70 - and deservedly took the lead on the stroke of half-time, with Gradel steering another free-kick beyond a helpless Jean-Louis Leca in the home goal (45+3').
Toulouse make sure
Durmaz flashed a shot narrowly wide at the start of the second half (46') before Somalia whipped in a cross that had too much on it for Sanogo and Gradel (49'). Mickaël Debève's men did not have to wait long for their second, though, with TFC captain Christopher Jullien volleying home Giannelli Imbula's corner at the near post (51'). To their credit, Ajaccio's heads never went down, and Nouri did well to race past three markers at the other end before Lafont mopped up the danger (52'). Ajaccio lost 14-goal top scorer Gimbert to injury just inside the hour, with Thibault Vialla replacing him (59'), and having played 120 minutes to edge Le Havre into making this tie on Sunday, the teammates he left behind struggled to mount any serious challenge to Toulouse's dominance. Sanogo put the result beyond doubt with an emphatic finish (65') and Toulouse are now overwhelming favourites to preserve their Ligue 1 Conforama status.
THE PLAYER: Max Gradel
Gradel has been one of the few success stories at Toulouse this season, impressing out wide or through the middle since signing on loan from English Premier League side Bournemouth last summer. The Côte d'Ivoire international was once again the busiest man on the pitch for Le Téfécé and was rewarded with his team-high ninth goal of the season.
THE STAT: 17
There has never been a goalless draw in 17 meetings between Toulouse and Ajaccio, making it one of the most prolific matches in French football history. Their last meeting was a 2-2 draw in Ligue 1 Conforama back in March 2014, and another at the Stadium Municipal de Toulouse on Sunday will see the south coast club stay up.