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Montpellier (AFP) – Thanks to a superb goal by Serbian defender Ristic, Montpellier logically qualified for the knockout stages of the Coupe de France by sending off another Ligue 1 club, Strasbourg, 1-0 on Sunday at Stade La Mausson.
The short winter break has not altered the dynamics of Montpellier, which reached the semi-finals last season. Since their loss (1-0) to Lyon at the end of November, Olivier Dall’Auglio’s team has racked up six consecutive victories, in all competitions.
“It is important that we restart properly. We needed to regain that momentum. I saw a lot of desire and determination. I am satisfied with this match, which was difficult. It was a victory. Important for us”, Olivier D’Aglio appreciated.
Strasbourg again falls to Montpellier, like last season. In January 2021, the Alsatian team fell to La Meinau (2-0) in the final 32. On Sunday, the attacking trio formed by Kevin Gameiro, Habibo Diallo and Ludovic Ajoerck did not affect the defense of Montpellier, the sovereign.
“We knew that playing in Montpellier would be complicated. We were in the opponent’s place. We weren’t far away. We lacked precision and efficiency. We deserved a draw”, regrets Jean-Marc Quintz on his part, one of Julien Stéphane’s assistants.
Montpellier, once again mastering his home theme, scored the first goal in the 20th minute, shortly after a superb opportunity from Elie Wahy (17). Defender Mihajlo Ristic established Herault’s dominance with a powerful, clear strike from 25 metres. The Serbia international scored his second goal of the season, ten days after he had already scored against Angers (4-1).
Strasbourg, stifled by the collective control of Montpellier, did not exist much in the first period. Julian Stefan’s team, absent due to Covid-19 contamination, spoiled the tie ball by its striker Habibou Diallo (45). The Senegal international sent a penalty kick, which Nicolas Koza got for an involuntary manual foul, clearly over the crossbar. “The penalty kick was definitely the turning point in the match,” said Dal Olio.
Montpellier had the best chances throughout the second half, thanks in particular to hits from Ristic (57th place) and Arnaud Suquet (67th), but he never managed to take cover. If he struggled at the end of the game, especially after entering Alsatian midfielder Adrian Thomasson, he didn’t really shudder to secure qualification.
© 2022 AFP
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