Angers 2-0 Caen

Angers SCO and Stade Malherbe Caen may have expected to be battling against relegation before a ball was kicked this season, but at the halfway point of the campaign the sides came into this clash at the Stade Jean-Bouin sitting in third and fourth respectively.

Caen had tailed off towards the back end of 2015, winning just two of their previous eight Ligue 1 matches, but they started well here. Andy Delort nearly opened the scoring after selling the hosts’ defence a dummy early on, but his subsequent shot fizzed wide of Rémy Vercoutre’s post (19′).

Yahia chance

Patrice Garande’s men continued to pile on the pressure, with Alaeddine Yahia the next to threaten. Caen captain Julien Féret floated in a corner which the big Tunisian latched onto, but his close-range attempt was blocked by Charles Diers (34′).

First-choice goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle and Guinean winger Abdoul Camara left for pastures new over the winter break, but Angers were able to hold onto their top scorer Cheikh Ndoye, and the Senegalese midfielder came close to volleying home his sixth goal of the campaign after header down from Ismaël Traoré but his fired wide (37′). Le Sco simply wouldn’t be kept out though, and they took a 1-0 lead into the interval when Capelle found the top corner of Vercoutre’s goal from fully 20 metres out (41′).

Angers boasted the second meanest defence at kick-off, and that solidity was intact here, allowing Stéphane Moulin’s men to build attacks confidently from the back. Ketkéophomphone was the next to threaten, but his shot was well saved by Vercoutre (54′).

Delort denied

At the other end Andy Delort outmuscled three markers before trying to lob the ball over Alexandre Letellier, but the Angers ‘keeper reacted well to deny the former France U21 striker what would have been a fine seventh goal of his Ligue 1 season (59′).

Ketkéophomphone made sure of the points for Angers in the final 15 minutes, finishing coolly when one-on-one with Vercoutre (75′). The attacker nearly completed a brace five minutes later with a near-carbon copy of a chance, but this time his left-footed shot sailed wide (80’) and it ended 2-0.