Nantes on the Brink of Ligue 1 Safety

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Nantes are on the verge of securing their place in Ligue 1 for another season. With a four-point gap to the relegation play-off spot and only two games remaining, avoiding defeat against Lille will guarantee their top-flight status. Last weekend’s goalless draw against Brest ensured that Nantes cannot finish in the bottom two, which was likely the minimum target set by manager Antoine Kombouaré when he was appointed in March.

Since Kombouaré’s return to the club, Nantes have been picking up points, but all of their recent successes have come on the road, with two wins and two draws. As they prepare to play their final home game of the season at Stade de la Beaujoire, Kombouaré will be desperate to give the home fans something to cheer about. However, Nantes have struggled to find success on their home turf, with a joint-Ligue 1 record of eight consecutive home defeats.

Lille’s Ambitions at the Other End of the Table

Lille, on the other hand, have plenty to play for at the other end of the table. Their 4-3 defeat to Lyon left them with a deficit to third place and direct qualification for the Champions League group phase. Manager Paulo Fonseca expressed his disappointment with his team’s poor game management in the defeat, as they threw away the points despite leading 3-2 in the latter stages.

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However, Lille’s recent head-to-head record against Nantes is impressive, as they have not lost a match since September 2015, winning 13 and drawing 4. This should give them confidence as they head west to face Nantes. While a repeat of last season’s 1-1 draw may not be the ideal result for Lille, they are in good shape, having lost only one of their last four league away games, with two wins and one draw.

Players to Watch

One player to watch for Nantes is Mostafa Mohamed, who is just one goal away from surpassing his tally of eight goals from last season in Ligue 1. Three of his last four goals have come between the 50th and 80th minute, so he could be a key player for Nantes in the latter stages of the game. On the other hand, if Lille are in need of a late goal, they might turn to Bafodé Diakité, as three of his six goals this season have been headers scored after the 80th minute, including one against Lyon.

Hot Stat: Nantes have struggled against teams currently in the top four this season, with two draws and four losses, conceding two goals in five of those matches.

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