Four red cards & the missed penalty: Montpellier struggle to win Ligue 1
“Mongongu caused mayhem at the end. We had no reason to get angry because the penalty was for us,. I don’t regret that Souleymane took the penalty, just that he had to wait so long. It probably shows our lack of experience.” – Montpellier coach Rene Girard.
Should Montpellier win Ligue 1 this season it will be one of the great success stories of the season.
Nobody predicted that Rene Girard’s charges would be in pole position at the beginning May, and that underdog spirit means that most neutrals are urging Montpellier to see out the title race and beat mega-spending PSG to the crown.
On Tuesday night though, in thrilling match at Evian, Montpellier may have blown it in a pulsating final few minutes.
Having clawed their way back to 2-2 after Oliver Giroud scored in the 84th minute, the hosts were presented with an injury time penalty after winger Remy Cabella was tripping in the box.
Senegalese striker Souleymane Camara assumed responsibility for the spot-kick, but the attacker was forced to wait five long minutes to take his kick as the sides started duking it out then field.
The main protagonists were Montpellier’s Younes Belhanda and Evian’s Cedric Mongongu. As the sides were waiting for the penalty to be taken, the pair riled each other up the wrong way leading to their joint dismissal. That, however, only served to heat up tensions further as the pair went for each other’s faces as they headed off the pitch.
Cue more mayhem and two more red cards for Evian’s Tunisian forward Saber Khalifa and Montpellier substitute Gregory Lacombe, who were both not active players at the time.
Finally, after all the commotion died down, Camara fluffed his lines with his penalty as Evian keeper Stephan Andersen made the save.
Aside from the two points dropped, Montpellier will now have to finish the season without the services of starters Belhanda and Khalifa.
Related link: Highlights of Montpellier 2 – Evian 2.