Dijon cut the mustard on Kombouaré bow
Dijon FCO held European aspirants Montpellier Hérault SC to a 1-1 draw on Sunday as new coach Antoine Kombouaré took to the Stade Gaston Gérard dugout for the first time.
Dijon FCO 1-1 Montpellier Hérault SC
The Dijon players looked keen to impress in front of their new manager, and they could have taken the lead inside the first ten minutes when Jordan Marié found space on the right before letting fly from distance, but the midfielder's effort was turned out for a corner by Benjamin Lecomte (7'). Florent Mollet was restored to Montpellier's starting line-up having only played 20 minutes of La Paillade's 2-0 loss to FC Nantes on Tuesday and duly wrought havoc at the other end. Mollet's corner was turned onto the Dijon post by centre-back Cédric Yambéré (13') before his header from a Ruben Aguilar cross hit the crossbar (30'). Petar Skuletic threatened seconds later, but this time Lecomte's opposite number Bobby Allain sprang into action to stop the Serbia striker (30'). This was a rare start for Skuletic in the suspension-enforced absence of Gaëtan Laborde, but he looked lively in setting up Andy Delort, whose shot was well saved by in irrepressible Allain (35'), and the sides went in for half-time with the score at 0-0.
Deadlock broken, points shared
Dijon started the second half strongly with Kwon Chang-hoon getting the better of Montpellier captain Hilton to get a shot off, but Lecomte was well positioned to save (48'). The hosts broke the deadlock soon after, though, when Kwon won the ball off Ambroise Oyongo before teeing up Wesley Saïd, who converted just the second goal of a hitherto disappointing season for him (55'). Kombouaré's ecstasy lasted all of five minutes, though. Kwon undid his attacking heroics with some sloppy defensive work, allowing Damien Le Tallec to peel off him to meet Mollet's cross and head home the equaliser (61'). Montpellier could have pulled clear when Mollet found Delort in the box. The striker twisted clear of Wesley Lautoa but could only find the outside side-netting with his shot (73'). Saïd then came close to doubling his tally at the other end when he met Mehdi Abeid's cutback, but Lecomte reacted well to keep him out (75'). Allain stopped a Junior Sambia free-kick late on (90+1') and it ended honours even at the Stade Gaston Gérard.
THE PLAYER: Bobby Allain
Allain has been on Dijon's books since the summer of 2016, and yet this was just his fourth start for Les Rouges, with Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson his most recent road block. Kombouaré has obviously seen something he likes in the 27-year-old, though, and it is difficult to argue with his judgement after Sunday's performance. Allain made seven saves in total, and should keep his place in the weeks ahead.
THE STAT: 7
Dijon are now undefeated in their last seven games against Montpellier. The last time the south coast club picked up all three points in this fixture was back in October 2011, when a certain Olivier Giroud scored hat-trick in a 5-3 win at the Stade de la Mosson. Hilton is the only player to have featured in that game and this.