Kombouaré starts with win
By D. Crossan
Antoine Kombouaré's Toulouse coaching career began with a dramatic 2-1 home win over LOSC.
Kombouaré's impact on TFC was immediate as the hosts showed enthusiasm and desire as they scored a deserved victory over LOSC, whose five-match unbeaten league run was brought to an end. Toulouse were on top in the first half and Le Stadium warmed to the players' efforts as there was a marked improvement on the back-to-back home defeats they'd endured.
TFC coped with losing Wesley Saïd and Bafodé Diakité to injury in the first half and it was Yaya Sanogo - on for Saïd - who nearly broke the deadlock (29') with a stupendous overhead kick. TFC captain Max-Alain Gradel then crashed a shot off the underside of the bar (45+2') as Kombouaré's side were denied by the woodwork for the second time.
Toulouse made the breakthrough (58') when Sanogo headed in Matthieu Dossevi's pinpoint cross from the right for his first goal of the season. The game's crucial minute was the 62nd. LOSC broke away and Luiz Araujo curled a shot onto the post but then followed a VAR review that led to Stéphanie Frappart awarding a penalty for a Jérémy Pied handball of a Gradel cross that preceded the LOSC counter. Gradel scored from the spot even though Mike Maignan went the right way.
Pied (81') conceded a second penalty for handball on VAR evidence when his arm got in the way of a Dossevi cross. Gradel again took the penalty but fired well over the bar. The miss had potential to backfire, though LOSC left it too late to pull a goal back when skipper José Fonte headed home a free-kick from the right by substitute Yusuf Yazici (90+3').
THE PLAYER: Max-Alain Gradel
The Ivorian has scored six times against LOSC, making them his favourite Ligue 1 Conforama opponents. The TFC captain continues to put his hand up for penalties, even though his record from the spot is mixed and he missed four times in the league from 12 yards last season.
THE STAT: 3
TFC are unbeaten in their last three league meetings with LOSC and were the only club to take four points off them last season.