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African All Stars

Ligue 1 Wrap: Bouanga, Mothiba & Muani score, Kone sees red

17:13 IST 06/03/2022
Denis Bouanga
African stars suffered contrasting fortunes in Sunday’s French elite division matches

Saint Etienne secured a 1-0 victory over Metz in Sunday’s Ligue 1 outing with Denis Bouanga scoring the only goal.

The Gabon international got the only goal in the second half to increase his tally in the 2021-22 campaign to five from 23 appearances.

Still hurt by their 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain last time out, the Greens looked to bounce back to winning ways against the Maroons.

They began the match on a lively note but visiting Metz repelled their attacking forays at the Geoffroy Stadium.

Bouanga thought he had given the hosts the lead in the 20th minute, but his effort was chalked off after VAR adjudged that the striker had handled the ball en route to heading past goalkeeper Marc-Aurele Caillard.

Both teams went into the half-time break without finding the net in a lacklustre first half.

The Greens stepped up their chase for all three points in the second half and pressure on Metz’s backline paid off in the 52nd minute as Bouanga broke the deadlock after Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik’s tame clearance landed at his feet.

The Maroons were handed a lifeline when Falaye Sacko fouled Farid Boulaya in the dying minutes, only for referee Jeremy Stinat to overturn the decision following a foul in the build-up.

Thanks to this result, Saint Etienne climbed to 17th on the French elite division log after gathering 22 points from 27 matches, while Metz occupy the 19th spot with 22 points from the same number of matches.

Elsewhere, South Africa international Lebo Mothiba was among the scorers as Troyes recorded a 2-0 away win over Bordeaux.

The visiting side managed by Bruno Irles had the best chance to take the lead in the 27th minute as Gideon Mensah fouled Issa Kabore on the edge of the box.

However, VAR replays claimed the tackle happened in the goal area, thus, referee Ruddy Buquet pointed to the penalty spot.

Guinea Bissau forward Mama Balde missed the ensuing kick, however, goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin somehow mistakenly kicked the ball into his own net.

The Girondins should have restored parity minutes after the restart, but Remi Oudin fired his half volley over the crossbar.

With three minutes left on the clock, Troyes were awarded another penalty. This time, Mothiba was brought down in the box by Fransergio. The South African stepped up to take the kick – which he smartly sent past goalkeeper Poussin.

Mali defender Youssouf Kone was given his marching orders for serious foul play in the game’s closing stages, but that did not prevent ESTAC from coasting home to victory.

At the Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes subdued Montpellier 2-0 with second-half goals from Randal Kolo Muani and Willem Geubbels separating the teams.

Unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, the Canaries brightened their push for European qualification with a commanding display.

Despite seeing Moses Simon torment the visitors’ backline, Nantes had to settle for a 0-0 draw after the first 45 minutes.

Early in the second half, Simon nearly gave them the lead but his ferocious shot missed the goal by whiskers.

In the 69th minute, France youth international of Congolese descent Muani got the opener with a fine header from Ludovic Blas’ cross.

Victory was guaranteed in the closing seconds as Ghana’s Osman Bukari came off the bench to set up super-sub Willem Geubbels for the club’s second strike of the keenly contested affair.