FC Metz are the only team in Ligue 1 Conforama without a point after four matches of the 2017-18 campaign following their 1-0 loss at SM Caen on Saturday.

 SM Caen 1-0 FC Metz 

Metz travelled to Normandy short on self-belief, and their fragile confidence almost took a further blow early on, but Durel Avounou — picked out by Ivan Santini — could only shoot into the side-netting (7′).

Caen needed Rémy Vercoutre to keep out his former Olympique Lyonnais team-mate Milan Bisevac when the ex-Paris Saint-Germain defender headed Renaud Cohade’s free-kick goalwards (13′), but there is no doubt Eiji Kawashima at the opposite end was by far the busier of the goalkeepers.

The Japan international kept out Damien Da Silva’s header (25′) and then watched Ronny Rodelin’s effort fly just wide (26′) before Opa Nguette called Vercoutre into action once again just before the break (43′).

It took a graceful feint and fierce drive from Rodelin to break the deadlock five minutes after the restart, but Caen failed to add to their advantage, mostly due to the brilliance of Kawashima.

The 34-year-old former Dundee United man made just five Ligue 1 Conforama appearances last season, but on the evidence of this performance — his first of the campaign — he could well make more this term.

Santini, who scored in last weekend’s 2-0 win at LOSC Lille, brought a pass down and fired goalwards only to find Kawashima in the way (54′). He was again on hand — quite literally— to brilliantly keep out another Da Silva header from a free-kick (83′), but his team-mates could not find the goal that would have opened their account.

THE PLAYER: Eiji Kawashima
The veteran emerged from the shadow of Thomas Didillon, and how! He was not able to keep the clean sheet that would have give his team a first point of the season, but surely Metz will have a great chance of moving away from danger if their Japanese goalkeeper can maintain this sort of form.

Caen’s win ended a club record run of seven successive league defeats at the Stade Michel d’Ornano


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