Alioui frustrated as Reims hold 10-man Angers
High-flying Angers SCO had the better of the chances at the Stade Auguste-Delaune but Stade de Reims ultimately stood firm in front of their home fans, grinding out a 0-0 draw.
Stade de Reims 0-0 Angers SCO
Angers made the journey east to Champagne country in the heady heights of second, despite winning just one of their previous five Ligue 1 Conforama matches. After a slow start, Stéphane Moulin's men came close to finding the opener midway through the first half when Rachid Alioui let fly from a free-kick. The Morocco striker's effort hit the wall and span towards the corner of the home goal, but Predrag Rajkovic reacted well to make the save (27'). Dijon weren't without their chances, and Mathieu Cafaro might have done better after meeting Rémi Oudin's cross from the right, but he headed straight into the hands of Rajkovic's opposite number Ludovic Butelle (34'). Rajkovic was nonetheless the busier of the two goalkeepers, and did well to cut Mathias Pereira Lage's low cross out following a quick free-kick minutes later (36').
Fulgini sent off
Cafaro was Dijon's most dangerous player, and he was unlucky not to see a teammate meet his free-kick which he whipped into the Angers area just past the hour (63'), but most of the second-half traffic flowed - as it had done in the first - in the opposite direction. Thomas Mangani send a free-kick into the Reims box minutes later. Alioui connected with a back-header, but what might have been his fifth goal of the season flew narrowly over the bar (68'). Angers had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men after Angelo Fulgini was sent off for a second bookable offence for a foul on Yunis Abdelhamid (70'), but apart from another Cafaro shot which flew wide (78') they never really looked in danger, and were disappointed - even with the numerical disadvantage - to have to settle for a 0-0 draw.
THE PLAYER: Rachid Alioui
Alioui, Angers' top scorer this season with four goals, was kept quiet at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, but it wasn't for the want of trying. The former Nîmes Olympique man has made a bright start to life with Les Scoïstes and his game-high four shots on goal were complemented by some 12 challenges won. The 27-year-old works hard for his teammates and if he keeps playing like this, more goals will follow.
THE STAT: 10
Reims are now undefeated in their last 10 games against Angers in all competitions. The last time the westerners picked all three points against Les rouges et blancs was all the way back in August 2008, when both clubs were in Domino's Ligue 2. Olivier Auriac, who retired in 2016 after nearly 250 games with Angers, scored twice in a 3-1 win that day.