With two games left in Ligue 1, a decisive win over Stade Rennais took Montpellier to first place in the standings. Montpellier (23W-7D-6L) have been phenomenal this season, fielding 65 goals. They have also been water tight at the back, letting up only 33 goals in 36 games.
Montpellier faced fifth-placed Stade Rennais on Monday night—a game Montpellier needed to win to top Paris Saint-Germain from the lead.
The game started feisty enough, the first shot coming in the fourth minute from Montpellier forward Souleymane Camara. His shot, however, was blocked by a Rennais defender. In the seventh minute, Olivier Giroud had an attempt on goal but the Montpellier striker missed.
In the 13th minute, Rennais responded with pressure and almost succeeded in scoring, but Jonathan Pitroipa hit the crossbar from an overhead kick.
It was in the 26th minute that the hosts found themselves down one goal. Camara, who had been harassing the Rennais back four, found the back of the net from inside the penalty box.
Rennais defender Chyrs Mavinga looked comfortable at left-back, driving forward to get passes and crosses in for his teammates. He also had a number of shots on goal which ended up right towards the keeper.
The first half ended 1-0.
A lucky goal clinched the game for Montpellier, as Remy Cabella struck a low and hard ball towards the far post, hit the post and bounced towards Rennais goalkeeper Benoit Costil. The ball hit his back as he was attempting to save the shot and rolled into the back of the net, which the unfortunate keeper could only watch in despair.
Thankfully, for Montpellier and Cabella, the shot had enough pace to be out of reach for Costil.
In the 65th minute, Rennais substituted Razak Boukari for Youssouf Hadji.
The injection of pace allowed Rennais to get forward, but Hadji could not convert any of his shots on target—as they were directed at the goalkeeper's body.
The match ended 2-0, a fine win for Montpellier. They face Lille at home on May 13 and Auxerre on the road a week later.
Two wins guarantee the league trophy—something they deserve after their fantastic campaign this season.
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