December 8, 2012
Montpellier 3-0 AC Ajaccio
Montpellier brushed aside meek Ajaccio to climb back toward mid-table safety in Ligue 1 tonight.
The champions are not the same side that won the title last season, but they had little problem seeing off relegation-threatened Ajaccio thanks to goals from John Utaka, Remy Cabella and Younes Belhanda.
The win lifted Rene Girard's side four points ahead of their fourth-from-bottom opponents, although they are only six points off fourth place in a tight division.
The hosts were on the front foot from the off and Utaka's header from a Belhanda free-kick was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
The Nigerian came out on top in that duel in the 29th minute, though, receiving the ball in the area and beating first Carl Medjani then Johan Cavalli before firing in off a post.
It was 2-0 four minutes later, Medjani clearing Belhanda's cross only as far as Cabella, who controlled the ball and unleashed a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner.
The Ajaccio goal was under pressure again before the break with Samuel Bouhours blocking a Daniel Congre shot as the visitors survived a goalmouth scramble.
Romain Pitau volleyed powerfully over as the hosts started the second half on the attack again, but they got a let-off moments later when Dongre appeared to bring down Sigamary Diarra in the area only for the referee to wave play on.
Instead Belhanda put the game to bed in the 66th minute with a superb third.
The midfielder picked up the ball following an Ajaccio clearance, tricked Medjani with a feint to shoot and then dispatched a wonderful 25-yard effort beyond Ochoa.
The hosts should have had a fourth when Gaetan Charbonnier intercepted the beleaguered Medjani's pass only to miss the target, but the game had been long since sewn up.
|16 Geoffrey Jourdren||1 Guillermo Ochoa|
|4 Hilton||17 Yoann Poulard|
|3 Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa||6 Carl Medjani|
|21 Abdel El Kaoutari||26 Samuel Bouhours|
|12 Daniel Congre||22 Fousseni Diawara|
|10 Younés Belhanda||4 Ricardo Faty|
|13 Marco Estrada||14 Mehdi Mostefa|
|14 Romain Pitau||27 Sigamary Diarra|
|11 Emanuel Herrera||21 Frederic Sammaritano|
|7 John Utaka||10 Chahir Belghazouani|
|20 Rémy Cabella||18 Johan Cavalli|
|19 Souleymane Camara||Adrian Mutu 12|
|8 Anthony Mounier||Arnaud Maire 23|
|5 Henri Bedimo||Eduardo Dos Santos 29|
|9 Gaetan Charbonnier||Oumar Sissoko 16|
|26 Bryan Dabo||Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi 8|
|30 Jonathan Ligali||Benjamin Andre 7|
|25 Mathieu Deplange||Paul-Bastien Lasne 19|
|Gaetan Charbonnier for Emanuel Herrera (70)||Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi for Mehdi Mostefa (55)|
|Anthony Mounier for Rémy Cabella (70)||Adrian Mutu for Frederic Sammaritano (61)|
|Bryan Dabo for Romain Pitau (77)||Arnaud Maire for Yoann Poulard (81)|
|Romain Pitau (16)||Samuel Bouhours (23)|
|Ricardo Faty (48)|
|· Squads: Montpellier | AC Ajaccio|