Evian hold on for victory
Kevin Berigaud's double inspired Evian to victory but Pascal Dupraz's men were made to hold on for all three points.
Last Updated: 14/09/13 10:25pm
Kevin Berigaud's double inspired Evian to victory but Pascal Dupraz's men were made to hold on for all three points after Ajaccio staged a late rally at Stade Francois Coty.
Brice Dja Djedje and Berigaud put the visitors two goals to the good before half-time and the game looked to be over as a contest when Berigaud added a third shortly after the interval.
Yet Evian, who defeated title-chasing Lyon before the international break, were given an almighty fright when Paul Lasne and Gadji Tallo scored in the final 10 minutes for Ajaccio, who failed to find an equaliser.
Evian started brightly and Olivier Sorlin nearly put them in front but his drive from long distance went narrowly over the bar.
However, Ajaccio went closest in the early stages as Benoit Pedretti smashed the crossbar with his right-footed rocket.
Evian took the lead on the half-hour mark.
Dja Djedje marvellously curled into the top corner with a free-kick from just outside the penalty area to leave Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa with no chance.
The Mexican shot-stopper was powerless to prevent the home side from falling two goals down a minute before the break as Jonathan Mensah freed Daniel Wass on the left side of the penalty area and he fed Berigaud, who slotted home from close range.
The game appeared essentially over when Nicolas Benezet's cross from the left wing was magnificently converted by Berigaud, who ran on to the ball and fired past Ochoa in the 52nd minute.
Ajaccio's fortunes went from bad to worse as they were denied by the woodwork on two occasions, with Johan Cavalli first seeing his first-time strike rebound off the post.
The French midfielder was then once again denied by a post with his strike from the edge of the box.
However, the hosts' endeavour was rewarded as they pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute, with Adrian Mutu flicking on Ochoa's goal kick to allow Lasne to go through on goal and slot past Evian goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait.
Tallo then drove low into the Evian goal in the 86th minute following a decent delivery from Mutu.
With a draw suddenly in Ajaccio's sights, Romanian Mutu then freed Cavalli, who saw his curled effort from the edge of the area well saved by Laquait to preserve the points for Evian.