Delort at the double as MHSC down Strasbourg
By D. Crossan
Andy Delort scored twice as Montpellier scored an impressive 3-1 win at Coupe de la Ligue champions Strasbourg to maintain their challenge for Europa League football.
RC Strasbourg Alsace 1-3 Montpellier Hérault SC
Montpellier dominated throughout and were full value for the points as Michel Der Zakarian outthought Thierry Laurey, whose side badly missed the suspended Kenny Lala. MHSC went in front with the first noteworthy chance (22') as Delort was on hand to finish after Matz Sels had saved from Florent Mollet. The Strasburg defence suffered a tough night against Delort, Mollet and Gaëtan Laborde and Laborde it was who set up the Montpellier second (28'). Mollet controlled on his chest and produced a skillful half-volleyed finish.
Pablo Martinez (34') pulled one back for the hosts as he headed home a Sanjin Prcic corner. Benjamin Lecomte got plenty on the ball but could not keep it out. Vitorino Hilton, breaking the record of Ligue 1 Conforama appearances by a non-French player, marked his 450th top division game with a fine block of a Lebo Mothiba shot (45').
Delort wasted two good chances to add to the lead (60' and 72') and then wing-back Ambroise Oyongo flashed a shot across the face of Sels' goal. Strasbourg finished with only 10 on the pitch as Prcic went off injured (82') with all three substitutions having been made.
A two-goal margin was just for MHSC and Delort netted the third visiting goal (86') as he followed up after Sels had pushed out an Oyongo effort. MHSC host PSG next and will be massive supporters of the capital club in next weekend's Coupe de France final. Should PSG beat Rennes then fifth in the league will become a European finish.
THE PLAYER: Andy Delort
Delort's double took the 27-year-old onto 13 for the season, making this his most prolific top division campaign, eclipsing the 12 he managed for Caen in 2015-2016. Delort might have had a hat-trick and acknowledged he'd snatched at his first two opportunities of the second half.
THE STAT: 1
Strasbourg have won only one of their last 11 league games, drawing six and losing four times.