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Ligue 1

  • February 25, 2012
  • • 18:00
  • • Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
  • Referee: B. Varela
  • • Attendance: 21284
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Montpellier 1-0 Bordeaux: Utaka header sends hosts top of Ligue 1

Montpellier 1-0 Bordeaux: Utaka header sends hosts top of Ligue 1

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Rene Girard's high-flyers took provisional top spot in Le Championnat with a narrow 1-0 win over les Girondins thanks to Utaka's 80th minute winner.

Montpellier took provisional top spot in Ligue 1 with a late 1-0 victory over a resilient Bordeaux side at Stade de la Mosson.

John Utaka's header in the 80th minute sealed the victory for the hosts in a match where gilt-edged chances were few and far between.

La Paillade and les Girondins entered the encounter as the two form teams in the division, with 13 points in their last five games, and this was replicated in the starting line-ups.

Francis Gillot sent out the same side that beat Lyon 1-0 last weekend, whilst Rene Girard made the one change, ejecting Souleymane Camara in favour of Remy Cabella from the side that drew with PSG.

After an edgy opening on the south coast of France, it would be the high-flying hosts who would race out of their blocks first. Latching onto a long ball, top scorer Olivier Giroud headed towards Younes Belhanda, who surprised most players by immediately striking the ball from distance, only to clip the crossbar as Cedric Carrasso breathed a sigh of relief.

The 22-year-old, reportedly attracting the admiring glances of Barcelona, was again the creative force in the heart of la Paillade's midfield, initiating another attacking move moments later, though this time his shot was saved by the Bordeaux custodian.

The visitors, however, were not to be dominated, as most teams have been to their detriment this season. Landry N'Guemo and Ludovic Obraniak were the main instigators, but a resolute defence held strong as the sides ended a competitive half goalless.

Lamine Sane intercepted the impressive Henri Bedimo before expertly threading the ball in towards Nicolas Maurice-Belay, but the attacker's shot was well saved by Geoffrey Jourdren. 

A much more subdued second half was played out.

Marco Estrada attempted an effort from distance, before Garry Bocaly fired a pass from the Chilean wide from the right hand side.

The introduction of Karim Ait Fana had injected new life into the wavering hosts, and the impact proved fruitful. The substitute, who turned 23 today, threaded a ball towards Giroud, who was denied by Sane's late intervention.

Ten minutes before time, the hosts took a deserved lead. Estrada's delivery was near perfect, and Utaka rose highest to power home a header to send the home fans into raptures.

It could've been two in stoppage time but profligate finishing denied Giroud's attempt to grab a 17th league goal.

Following the victory, Montpellier leapfrog PSG at the summit, with the capital club encountering Lyon in the late kick-off. La Paillade travel to Dijon next weekend, with Bordeaux hosting Nice.

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