Will Toulouse reach Ligue 1 or will Nantes keep its place in the top flight? This is the question surrounding these roadblocks. This Thursday evening, it is the first leg which took place at the Toulouse Stadium between the 3rd in Ligue 2 and the 18th in Ligue 1. On this occasion, the two coaches, Antoine Kombouaré and Patrice Garande, lined up their typical teams. On the Canaries side, Kombouaré chose to put Lafont in the goal, surrounded by Traoré, Pallois, Castelletto and Appiah, in front, Chirivella – Blas – Louza accompanied the attacking trio Kolo Muani – Coulibaly – Simon. Side Pitchouns, Garande decided to line up Dupé in the cages, Amian, Machado, Gabrielsen, Moreira, Dewaest behind, and in the middle and in front of Koné, Spierings, Dejaegere, Bayo and Adli.
In the first period, Nantes quickly obtained a first opportunity. Following a good breakthrough from Pedro Chirivella, Randal Kolo Muani was found on the right side and the latter centered for Kalifa Coulibaly alone in the area but the Malian center forward missed his recovery. The Toulouse responded a few moments later with a shot on target from Brecht Dejaegere, but captured by Alban Lafont, the former TFC goalkeeper. In the 9th minute of play, Ludovic Blas, launched in depth by Coulibaly after a one-two, took advantage of a feverish defense to lift the ball alone and infiltrate the area to deliver a powerful strike that deceived Maxime Dupé, not imperial on this one. 1-0 for Nantes, very early in the meeting. Blas, decidedly very leggy in this match, on the right side, eliminated several players along the touchline and played with Coulibaly who handed over to Moses Simon on the left of the area. The Nigerian winger was trying his luck and his shot was on target but too far away to worry Dupé. Only a minute later, Imran Louza found well at the penalty spot by Coulibaly, missed his shot which was just fleeing the frame. The 2-0 ball was there. Except that Toulouse’s reaction ended up happening. In the 20th minute of play, following a good collective movement, the ball found itself alone in the box and Amine Adli was fighting to recover it. Thanks to his tackle, Vakoun Bayo recovered the ball and gave it back for Deiver Machado who armed a long shot that deceived Alban Laffont. 1-1.
Nantes takes an option for the maintenance
What a start to a match that took on another dimension just two minutes later. Coulibaly in the box fought well and shot point blank at Maxime Dupé who repelled the Malian’s attempt on Kolo Muani who just had to push the ball into the net. 2-1 for Nantes in the 22nd minute. Absolutely implausible scenario. The Nantes people regained, for a period, their famous game so polished of previous decades and Dennis Appiah even touched the bar in the 24th minute following an impeccable collective movement. It calmed down a bit afterwards with fewer incursions into the surface for the two formations. Just before the break, Blas in the box eliminated two players and gave the ball back to Kolo Muani who procrastinated and missed the opportunity to make the break in this match. 2-1 for Nantes at halftime, who, at that time, took a serious option of sustaining with these two away goals. Very pleasant match between two applied and playful formations.
At the start of the second half, it was the Toulousans who showed the most desire, without getting any real opportunity, but they kept the ball and kept spinning while waiting to find the loophole. In the 60th minute of play, following a free kick, Maxime Dupé had to work to cancel a Nantes scoring opportunity. In the 64th minute of play, Antoine Kombouaré made a first change and brought in Marcus Coco in place of Kalifa Coulibaly, who was very interesting tonight. With this change, Kolo Muani, tenured on the right side, then found the tip of the Nantes attack. In the 76th minute of play, Blas grabbed a precious ball and sent Kolo Muani deep but the former Boulogne scorer did not win his face to face with the keeper. Moments later, Manu Koné responded to Kolo Muani and the future Borussia Monchengladbach player attempted a coiled shot that passed not far from the frame of Alban Lafont. And Mr. Pignard, the referee of this meeting, whistled the end of the match. 2 goals to 1 victory for Nantes at the Stadium, thanks to goals from Ludovic Blas (10th) and Randal Kolo Muani (22nd). Good operation from Antoine Kombouaré’s players who won away by scoring two goals. With this result, Randal Kolo Muani’s partners take an option to stay in Ligue 1 but everything is still playable. FCN advantage before the return match on Sunday at La Beaujoire where Toulouse will have to win by two goals in order to hope to regain the elite next season.