Stop the presses – Arles Avignon have won a game

Photo: Icon Sport

After 1080 minutes of football in Ligue 1, AC Arles Avignon have finally grabbed their first win in the top flight.

Last night, Arles defeated Caen (the only side with similar form to Arles-Avignon at the moment) 3-2. Arles upturn in form in October gives them some remote hope of scaling the chasm between them and Nice in 17th. Only 8 points.

One of the rarest things you will ever see in football is Kaba Diawara either playing well or scoring. The 34 year old former striker, who has played for more or less every club around Europe scored his first goal for Arles, then bettered that by converting a penalty. The only rarer thing you are likely to see on a football field is Karl Henry making a spectacular tackle. Wait, that happened yesterday as well…..

Only Steve Claridge can rival Diawara in terms of the vast number of sides he’s turned out for. Difference being Claridge tended to score.

The match wasn’t one for the defensively minded out there. Caen took the lead through Youssef El-Arabi’s strike in the 10th minute, after a well worked move by Caen that left the entire Arles defence scrambling.

But Arles didn’t let their heads drop (you think they would after 11 games without a win.) Gael Germany equalised after a sensational through-ball from Hameur Bouazza, which he deftly put past Caen keeper Alex Thebaux.

Then in the 33rd minute, Camel Meriem’s high free kick was found with a glancing header from Diawara found the corner of the net. Cue jubilation in the crowd.

However, not to be outdone with a free-kick routine, Caen responded after half-time magnificently as Kandia Traore bicycled kick the equaliser. Lovely finish but question marks over the Arles defence who appeared static as the free-kick came in, leaving Traore unmarked.

More drama followed in the 76th minute after Thebaux lunged in recklessly on Franck Dja Djedje. Penalty given, although Thebaux may have touched the ball. Either way, Diawara hit it straight and true and Arles held on for their first win in Ligue 1.

Manager Faruk Hadzibegic  reflected on the monumental win, he said: “We suffered a lot, but we deserved the win. Caen played well, but that’s football.”

“We won thanks to the determination. We had some difficulties early in the game but the team has managed to remain calm and make a difference. It’s good for morale and I dedicate this victory to all those who work for the club and the supporters. It is a victory that we can revive from even if the road is still long.”

So modest, the threat of the wooden spoon the day before clearly scared Arles Avignon and congratulations to them on their first win and the fact they doubled their goal tally for the season in one game. Still on -18 goal difference and 8 points behind at least for this weekend, there’s a mountain to climb. At least Arles have actually started to climb it finally.



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