Angers bring Montpellier down to Earth
Romain Thomas scored the only goal of the game as Angers SCO defeated Montpellier Hérault SC 1-0 on Saturday to end their high-flying visitors' 11-match unbeaten run.
Angers SCO 1-0 Montpellier Hérault SC
Angers had not won since late September — a winless run of five matches — while Montpellier were flying, and after LOSC Lille had moved a point ahead of them following their goalless draw with RC Strasbourg-Alsace on Friday, Michel Der Zakarian's men were eager for a positive result that would see them reclaim second place.
A first-minute Florent Mollet free-kick found the head of Damien Le Tallec, who directed the ball at Ludovic Butelle to set the tone for a frustrating first half for the visitors.
It could have been worse had Cheikh N'Doye managed to get his header on target after Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte had failed to collect a corner (8') while Stéphane Bahoken threatened on a number of occasions without Lecomte being seriously troubled.
Le Tallec's injury enforced withdrawal early in the second half disrupted Montpellier, and Angers grew in confidence. Though a big penalty appeal when Jeff Reine-Adélaïde went down in the box was turned down (58') they continued to give as good as they got, and were finally rewarded.
Pierrick Capelle's left foot delivered a fiercely struck inswinging corner to the near post and Romain Thomas, who had scored a late equaliser in the Week 9 draw with Strasbourg, simply had to guide the ball into the net with his forehead (69').
Montpellier responded with Mollet firing a free-kick goalwards that Butelle did well to keep out (70') before the midfielder saw a well struck shot strike Thomas when it might have troubled the Angers goalkeeper still more (75').
Lecomte too was kept busy with Mateo Pavlovic's header from a Capelle free-kick requiring a quality stop (78') as Angers held on — surviving a late Montpellier assault — to register a welcome victory.
THE PLAYER: Pierrick Capelle
The midfielder turned full-back's ability to deliver a set-piece with his wand of a left foot was the main reason his team picked up three points — Thomas just had to make a solid connection.
THE STAT: 2
This was only Angers' second league win at home to Montpellier in five Ligue 1 Conforama games.