Nantes end win drought
Last Updated: 22/03/14 10:46pm
Celebrations for Nantes
Nantes ended a shocking run of form by beating Montpellier 2-1 in a dramatic Ligue 1 clash which also saw two red cards and a missed penalty.
Goals in the opening 20 minutes from Serge Gapke and Koffi Djidji set the home side on their way to victory, before Djidji then scored at the other end to give Montpellier a route back into the match.
However, red cards for Joris Marveaux and Daniel Congre then effectively ended the visitors' challenge, before Nantes missed the chance to extend their lead when Itay Shechter saw his spot-kick saved.
The result lifted Nantes, who had won just once in their previous nine matches, above their opponents and - more importantly - eight points clear of the drop zone.
Despite their woeful recent form, the hosts were ahead after just two minutes. Siaka Tiene gave the ball away to Banel Nicolita, who whipped in a cross for Gapke to fire in a low shot after holding off the challenge of defender Mathieu Deplagne.
Gapke then teed up Djidji to extend the lead in the 20th minute, with the latter planting a header past goalkeeper Geoffrey Joudren.
Montpellier quickly responsed, but Benjamin Stambouli saw his header stopped by Nantes keeper Remy Riou, who then palmed away a threatening free-kick from Tiene.
They got themselves on the scoresheet after 35 minutes though, with Remy Cabella's corner headed into his own net by an unfortunate Djidji.
It seemed to be the start of a Montpellier comeback, but they were stopped in their tracks when Marveaux was dismissed on the stroke of half-time for a dangerous challenge on Lucas Deaux.
The ball was very much in Nantes' court and only some quick-thinking from Joudren prevented them going further ahead, with the keeper punching away second-half efforts from Shechter and Gapke.
Montpellier were then dealt another blow seven minutes from time with Congre the next to see red, this time for a tackle in the area on Alejandro Bedoya which also resulted in a penalty.
However, Joudren again came out on top in that duel with Shechter, pushing away a weak effort from the Israeli international.
And it was a miss which almost proved costly for the home side when Tiene created one last chance to snatch a point for the visitors, only for his left-footed strike to come crashing back off the crossbar two minutes from time.
French Ligue 1
|2||Paris St Germain||10||18|
|17||Evian Thonon Gaillar||10||10|