Blas strike enough for Nantes against Dijon
Ludovic Blas scored 17 minutes from time as FC Nantes registered a hard-earned 1-0 win over Dijon FCO on Sunday to put themselves back in contention for a top-three place come Christmas.
FC Nantes 1-0 Dijon FCO
Nantes were just two points behind Paris Saint-Germain with nine games gone, but had tumbled down the table after just a single victory in their previous seven outings. With Dijon having lost just three of their previous ten and having taken points from PSG, Olympique de Marseille, Stade Rennais FC and — most recently — Montpellier Hérault SC this season, the hosts were set for a tough 90 minutes.
So it proved before the break. Moses Simon's shot was fumbled behind untidily by Alex Runarsson (16'), who was starting in goal after coming off the bench to replace the injured Alfred Gomis in midweek, but the Iceland international was more assured in stopping an Abdoulaye Touré effort (28') to keep the hosts at bay.
Simon, who has impressed on loan from Levante this season, should have added a third league goal of the season 11 minutes before the break, but after bursting onto a Touré pass, he chipped the ball wide of Runarsson and the goal (34').
Jhonder Cadiz turned a Nantes corner off his own post in the opening minute of the second half (46') as the hosts upped the tempo and pressure. Imran Louza tested Runarsson with a free-kick (50') and Coulibaly headed straight at the Dijon goalkeeper (52') while Simon struck the side-netting (54').
Blas, an astute summer signing from relegated En Avant Guingamp, brought relief to the Stade de la Beaujoire: cutting inside from the right, he exchanged passes with Simon before firing low across Runarsson for his third league goal of the season (73').
Dijon had few chances, but Bruno Eculé Manga went close with a header (75') before Cadiz brought the only serious save from Alban Lafont (88') as Nantes clung on to move into sixth.
THE PLAYER: Ludovic Blas
Busy as ever, Blas provided the breakthrough when one was looking unlikely. His understanding with Imran Louza is building promisingly for Les Canaris.
THE STAT: 2
Blas' goal was only the second Dijon had conceded in the last 30 minutes of a league game this season. They remain the only side yet to concede a goal in the final quarter-hour of a Ligue 1 Conforama match in 2019/20.