January 19, 2013
AC Ajaccio 1-1 Valenciennes
Opa Nguette grabbed a second-half equaliser for 10-man Valenciennes to deny Ajaccio victory at Stade Francois Coty this evening.
Adrian Mutu had given the relegation-threatened hosts the lead on the half-hour mark and things got worse for VA after the interval when defender Benjamin Angoua was sent off for a tackle from behind on the Romanian.
Mutu passed up the chance to make it 2-0 when his attempted cheeky chip from a penalty was saved by Nicolas Penneteau and the visitors went on to salvage a point thanks to Nguette's 69th-minute strike to leave the hosts just two points above the drop zone.
VA headed to Corsica looking for a positive response to last weekend's 5-0 thumping at Nice and mustered a couple of decent early opportunities for Nguette, only for Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to be equal to both.
And when the deadlock was broken the goal came at the other end as Mutu coolly slotted past Penneteau after the Valenciennes goalkeeper had pushed out Johan Cavalli's free-kick.
Ochoa was again in the right place just before the interval to block an Anthony Le Tallec blast, after good work from Matthieu Dossevi, as the hosts went in at half-time ahead.
Nguette had another decent sight of goal 14 minutes after the restart when he met Dossevi's cross from the right with a powerful header, but was once again frustrated as Ochoa made an excellent save.
VA's frustrations continued just after the hour when Angoua was dismissed for hauling back Mutu as he burst through on goal, with Penneteau punching the resulting free-kick clear from the former Fiorentina forward.
Mutu had a golden chance to wrap the game up midway through the second period when the referee pointed to the spot for a foul by Gaetan Bong on Benjamin Andre, but Penneteau was not fooled when he tried the cute lob.
And, soon after, Ajaccio were left to rue their missed opportunities as VA drew level. Dossevi muscled his way past three defenders down the right and fed Nguette, who made no mistake with his low shot.
Mutu, looking to make amends for his penalty miss, skimmed the outside of the post 11 minutes from time after springing the offside trap from substitute Damien Tiberi's pass, but neither side could find a winner in the remaining time.