Nolan Roux scored his 12th Ligue 1 Conforama goal of the season, but bottom side FC Metz had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw with FC Nantes on Sunday that does Les Canaris’ hopes of a top-five finish little good.
FC Metz 1-1 FC Nantes
After seeing Stade Rennais FC move two points clear of them and into fifth with a 2-0 win at Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday, Nantes’ visit to the league’s bottom side seemed timely for the 2000/01 Ligue 1 Conforama champions.
But an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration in defence allowed Roux to steal in unmarked into the six-yard box and guide Danijel Milicevic’s corner into the net with his thighs for a 12th league goal of the season (12′).
The former LOSC Lille and AS Saint-Etienne forward might have had a second had he kept down his shot that came at the end of a flowing team move before Nantes, who had ended a five-game winless streak with last weekend’s win over Troyes, responded.
Only a world-class save from Eiji Kawashima kept out Rene Khrin’s volley (22′) but the Japan international was beaten less than 60 seconds later as Valentin Rongier steered a shot into the far corner to open his Ligue 1 Conforama account this season.
The young midfielder had been told by coach Claudio Ranieri to shoot more in his new advanced role on the pitch, Nantes’ veteran boss must have enjoyed that one.
The Italian saw his team’s shape disrupted by the injury-enforced withdrawal of Abdoulaye Touré early in the second half (55′) after a poor challenge from Fallou Diagné that led to the Metz centre-back being stretchered off.
Neither side particularly threatened after that, though Roux forced a save from Ciprian Tatarusanu (82′) and Emiliano Sala headed wide (90+2′) as both teams had to settle for a point that leaves Nantes a point behind Rennes and Metz eight points adrift of the play-off spot.
THE PLAYER: Nolan Roux
The 30-year-old is enjoying a new lease of life in a struggling team, who would already be doomed without his goals. Now the third-highest Ligue 1 Conforama scorer currently in the French top flight behind Edinson Cavani and Jimmy Briand with 66 top-flight strikes to his name.
THE STAT: 18
Nantes have not won any of the games in which they have conceded a goal since their 2-1 triumph over Toulouse FC in Week 12 in early November, 18 games ago.