Mothiba double as Strasbourg beat Nîmes
Lebo Mothiba found the net twice as RC Strasbourg Alsace secured a 4-1 win over fellow strugglers Nîmes Olympique on Saturday to lift some of the clouds over them.
RC Strasbourg Alsace 4-1 Nîmes Olympique
The pair were separated by three places and one point at kick-off, but Strasbourg — 17th at the start of the game — ensured the scoreline reflected a gulf in class come full-time.
Last season's Coupe de la Ligue BKT winners had scored just seven goals all season and lost six of their opening 12 matches. Dimitri Lienard would have added to their goals tally but for Nîmes goalkeeper Lucas Dias early on (2'), but when Théo Valls struck a post with Matz Sels beaten at the opposite end (9'), the hosts looked like they might have a game on their hands.
Ludovic Ajorque's opening goal — stabbed home from close range from an Adrien Thomasson cross — eased their concerns (14') before Dias denied Mothiba with a stunning save (22') as Nîmes looked like a side that had won just one of their previous 13 away matches.
A penalty awarded for a foul by Florian Miguel on Mothiba was ruled out by VAR (30'), but the South Africa international persisted. He headed wide (35') and then forced another stop from Dias (38') before finding the net with a crisp finish in first-half added time to grab his first league goal of the season (45+2').
Nîmes looked to have found a lifeline when Romain Philippoteaux pulled on back with a superb curling effort early in the second half (48'), but the significance of his third goal of the season was reduced when Miguel was dismissed for a second bookable offence (66').
A Liénard free-kick that looped over Dias quickly punished Nîmes' ten men (70'), and Dias denied Alexander Djiku (82') before Mothiba did make it four when he polished off an Ajorque cross (85'). Thomasson then hit the crossbar in added time (90+2') as Strasbourg secured a fourth straight home win.
THE PLAYER: Lebo Mothiba
The ex-LOSC Lille man would have had a hatful of goals but for Dias, but still managed to get two to get himself off the mark in Ligue 1 Conforama this season. There will surely be more to come as he looks to be back to his all-action best.
THE STAT: 2002
It is the first time Strasbourg have won four successive top-flight matches at home since November 2002.