Guingamp beat Dijon in relegation six-pointer
EA Guingamp left it late, but Ludovic Blas' penalty five minutes from time gave the hosts a 1-0 win over Dijon FCO at the Stade de Roudourou, lifting the Bretons out of the automatic relegation places at their visitors' expense.
EA Guingamp 1-0 Dijon FCO
Guingamp began the day rooted to the foot of the table with two fewer points than their visitors, who occupied the relegation play-off place, and it didn't augur well for the hosts when Oussama Haddadi (6') and Romain Amalfitano (10') both drew saves from Marc-Aurèle Caillard with rasping long-range shots inside the opening ten minutes. Caillard's opposite number Bobby Allain was restored to Guingamp's starting line-up with Alex Runarsson having struggled in the 4-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, but he nearly made a mess of things soon after when he missed Nicolas Benezet's corner, but Nolan Roux spared the 'keeper's blushes when he headed off target (15'). Dijon looked the more likely to break the deadlock in the first half, though, with Benjamin Jeannot firing just over the crossbar (21') before Jordan Marié unleashed a spectacular effort which drew a save to match from Caillard (29'). Roux tried to lob Guingamp into the lead with half-time approaching (37') but his effort stayed out and the sides went into the break with the deadlock intact.
Blas-ted in front
Naïm Sliti span a ball into the Guingamp box looking for Julio Tavares early in the second half, but Caillard was on hand to clear the danger (55'). More than an hour was gone before Guingamp mustered their next attempt on the Dijon goal. Marcus Thuram, playing wide left, cut inside onto his favoured right foot and let fly, but Allain showed why he has been first choice since Antoine Kombouaré was appointed as coach in January, saving despite the effort taking a deflection off Fouad Chafik (65'). Cheick Traoré then bombed forward from centre-back before trying to tee up second-half substitute Ronny Rodelin, but Wesley Lautoa raced back to get a toe on the ball before the big striker could finish (74'). Guingamp had only lost one of the preceding four games, though, and the increasingly obvious never-say-die spirit in the squad showed itself once again late on, with Thuram earning a penalty which Blas stepped up to convert (86'). Tavares should have snatched a share of the spoils late on, but he blazed over (88') and it ended 1-0.
THE PLAYER: Marcus Thuram
Blas may have got the winning goal but it was Thuram who earned the penalty on a day in which he had another two shots on target. Seen as a centre-forward when he made his first steps in the game, the 21-year-old son of former French World Cup-winner Lilian Thuram looks happiest playing wide in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation, where his pace with and without the ball can come into play. If Guingamp stay up, the former France U20 man will be key.
THE STAT: 3
Guingamp are now undefeated in their last three home matches against Dijon in Ligue 1 Conforama, keeping a clean sheet each time. The last time Les Rouges picked up all three points at the Stade de Roudourou was all the way back in September 2004, when they won 1-0 when both teams were in Domino's Ligue 2.