PLAYER RATINGS | Le Havre 0-1 Nantes – Les Canaris closer to safety after Kader Bamba’s injury-time stunner

In a game with huge consequences in the battle to avoid the drop in Ligue 1, a brilliant solo-effort from substitute Kader Bamba in the 93rd minute saw Nantes open up a vital three-point gap over the afternoon’s hosts Le Havre.

Les Canaris kicked-off the match on the front foot, with Mustafa Mohamed particularly causing issues early with his pace in-behind the HAC backline. Mohamed had a great chance, breaking through the middle and sent through on goal – yet the Egyptian international’s square ball to Abline was intercepted.

Sabbi was released into the box and looked as if he beat Lafont with a deft chip, but it fell the wrong side of the post. Les Canaris reacted instantly, as Mathis Abline struck from range with a driven shot that had to be palmed away carefully by Desmas. The pattern of flurried attacks from the away side continued, as Mollet forced Desmas into another save which was almost turned into the net on the rebound. 

By half time the away side would be happier, having grown forcibly into the game with more chances, possession and danger. Yet Le Havre manager Luka Elsner’s team talk must’ve had some role in the Marine et Ciel’s quick start in the second period, threatening through Ayew, Sabbi, and substitute Josué Casimir. Despite Mohamed still providing a threat in-behind, Nantes became much more subdued.

Yet, Les Canaris would get a golden chance to open the scoring on the 66th minute, as Abline was played through one-on-one with Desmas on the counter-attack – but his effort was saved and bounced excruciatingly just wide of the post. Le Havre would keep pushing, as André Ayew cut inside and his shot just dragged wide. 

As the match drew into its final quarter, an error from Lafont would see Sabbi cross to Ayew, but his shot into the open net was cleared off the line from the dependable Nicolas Pallois. Then came the chance for Mohamed Bayo to turn in a magnificent low ball from Loïc Nego, but he was denied brilliantly by Pallois.

It would be a miss that the home side would regret, as Nantes piled on the pressure in injury time. Douglas Augusto almost found the back of the net from a corner – but the eventual winner would come in a more emphatic fashion. Substitute Kader Bamba had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, but the Frenchman picked up the ball halfway into the opposing half, drove past three Nantes players and struck a low driven shot past Desmas to send the rambunctious Nantes away fans into a frenzy.

A second win under Antoine Kombouaré for Les Canaris, who tread closer to safety in Ligue 1 — but a huge missed opportunity for Luka Elsner’s Le Havre, who linger closer to Lorient in the relegation play-off spot.

LE HAVRE AC PLAYER RATINGS: 

Arthur Desmas, 6

Loïc Négo, 5

Arouna Sangante, 5

Yoann Salmier, 5

Étienne Youte Kinkoue, 5

Christopher Operi, 5

Daler Kuzyayev, 4

Abdoulaye Touré, 5

Yassine Kechta, 5

Emmanuel Sabbi, 6 – A busy performance from the American, who was lively both in the box as well as on the counter-attack with some incisive runs. Whilst not for the lack of desire, he did lack the finishing touch (which goes for the rest of the Le Havre attack) to really decisively pull the game in the direction of the Ciel et Marine. 

André Ayew, 5 – Almost invisible in the first half, but became the centre of a lot of HAC’s chances in the second period, yet far from the best performance from the Ghanian international. He would have been on the scoresheet not for some vital interceptions from Nicolas Pallois.

Others: Josué Casimir, 5 Steve Ngoura, 6 Mohamed Bayo, 3

FC NANTES PLAYER RATINGS: 

Alban Lafont, 5

Jean-Kévin Duverne, 5

Nicolas Pallois, 5

Jean-Charles Castelletto, 6

Kelvin Amian Adou, 5

Samuel Moutoussamy, 5

Pedro Chirivella, 5

Moussa Sissoko, 5

Mathis Abline , 6

Mustafa Mohamed, 5

Florent Mollet, 6 

Others: Benie Traoré 5, Douglas Augusto 6, Kader Bamba 7

GFFN | George Boxall – From Stade Océane, Le Havre

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