By Eskender Tamrat

When: 2:00PM EST, Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Where: Stade du Moustoir, Lorient, France

Betting Line: OFF

TV Coverage: beIN Sports

 

FC Lorient (9-4-20) will host FC Metz (9-9-15) on Sunday, with only five points separating the sides in the standings. Due to favorable results elsewhere, Lorient remained in the relegation play-off spot after their stunning three-game winning streak came to an end at Montpellier HSC (10-9-14). Metz came close to secure a comeback draw against Paris Saint-Germain (24-5-4) before Blaise Matuidi's injury-time goal left them empty-handed.

We have seen nine goals in Metz's last two fixtures for the first time since November. Metz pulled off another solid comeback to draw 3-3 with Lorient back then. French striker Thibaut Vion scored twice in space of three minutes to salvage a draw for Metz after Lorient opened a two-goal lead in an end-to-end encounter.  

Sylvain Marveaux, Jérémie Aliadière (Lorient), Thomas Didillon and Simon Falette (Metz) could miss the fixture because of injuries.

Metz

Philippe Hinschberger's troops lost four points because of two late goals in a space of three days. They shared the spoils against Stade Malherbe Caen (9-6-18) with Ronny Rodelin's equalizer arrived two minutes from time. The deciding goal arrived in injury time on Tuesday, as champions PSG secured a vital win after squandering a two-goal lead at Metz.

But there are plenty of positives to draw for Metz from the fixtures. On a personal note, 19-years-old Senegalese winger Ismaïla Sarr scored one of the best goals of the season with an acrobatic finish against Caen. The January return of former Girondins de Bordeaux striker Cheick Diabaté is also bearing fruit, as the Mali international now scored seven goals from eleven appearances.

Lorient

Bernard Casoni's side returned to earth with a 2-0 defeat at Montpellier last Saturday. Lorient won the last three matches before facing Montpellier, which helped them to get out of the bottom of the table for the first time since matchday 10. They only spend two weeks outside the red zone – one of which after the first week of fixtures – but they are closing on survival as they only trail AS Nancy (8-7-18) by meager goal difference.

In their remaining schedule list, there would be two games against mid-table teams FC Nantes (11-9-13) and SCO Angers (11-6-16) and a visit to SC Bastia (6-10-16) – a match which could be played behind closed doors following the recent crowd troubles in Bastia. Unless they finished in the exact league position they are currently occupied and entered the playoff, they will play their final game of the season at home against FC Girondins de Bordeaux (14-10-9).

Key Stats

1. With his strike after coming off the bench against PSG on Tuesday, January signing Diabaté is now Metz's top scorer with seven goals. Mevlüt Erdinc has six goals, but his last one arrived back in September 2016.

2. Based on Squawka, Lorient's goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte conceded a league-high four goals due to individual errors.

3. Lorient were victorious in six of their last seven encounters against Metz. We have to go back to 2002 to find the last time Metz beat Lorient. In seven meetings in Lorient's soil, Metz could only secure one draw to their name.

The Pick

Metz could take some heart from midweek's comeback effort, but Lorient are still in a better shape.  Their vastly superior head-to-head record could give further motivation for Casoni's troops.

Lorient 2, Metz 0

Ligue 1 , soccer , Metz , Lorient