Gurtner the hero as Amiens hold Angers
Régis Gurtner saved a late penalty from Cristian Lopez, and with it a share of the spoils for Amiens SC against Angers SCO at the Stade Raymond Kopa on Saturday.
Angers SCO 0-0 Amiens SC
Angers began the day in 12th, a reassuring 15 points clear of the automatic relegation places and with seven more than an Amiens looking nervously over their shoulder at the trap door. Yet it was visiting Amiens who had the better if the first half. Saman Ghoddos tried to catch Ludovic Butelle out with an early shot which was well dealt with by the home 'keeper (16'). Angers weren't without their chances, but that Vincent Manceau, a left-back, had the best of them in the first half told its story, the one-club man - scorer of three goals in over 230 games - bursting into the box before finding the outside side-netting (19'). Ghoddos then met Cheick Timité's cross with an acrobatic volley, but Butelle was well positioned to quell the danger (43') and Benoît Millot's whistle for half-time went with the scores at 0-0.
Gurtner did well to get to Angelo Fulgini's free-kick ahead of Romain Thomas early in the second half (56') before Amiens went searching for the killer blow on the counter almost immediately, their swift move culminating in Timité seeing his left-footed effort saved at the last thanks to Butelle's out-streched leg (59'). Moussa Konaté then came close for Amiens, getting in front of Ismaël Traoré to meet Erik Pieters' cross only to scoop the ball over the bar (74'). Angers turned up the heat in the final half-hour, and were only a Gurtner save away from pulling into the lead following a Thomas Mangani free-kick (78'). The home fans were lifted off their seats when Cheikh N'Doye was brought down by namesake Timité in the box late on (82'). After consultation with VAR the penalty was given, and second-half substitute Lopez stepped up to take it, but Gurtner kept it out (84') and it ended honours even.
THE PLAYER: Régis Gurtner
Gurtner was at his irrepressible best on Saturday. Supposedly under pressure when Amiens signed Matthieu Dreyer from SM Caen at the start of the season, the 32-year-old is playing as well as ever, and can be confident of keeping his No.1 spot regardless of what division Amiens are playing their football in. With performances like this, the safe money is on that being the top-flight.
THE STAT: 6
Angers nonetheless remain undefeated in their last five home matches against Amiens in all competitions. The last time Les Licornes took all three points from Les Scoïstes at their Stade Raymond Kopa was in January 2004, when the stadium was still known as the Stade Jean-Bouin.