While yesterday’s game for Brest away at Toulouse included some impressive defensive performances, Zakaria Aboukhlal’s equaliser in the second half marked a frustrating weekend for Les Pirates. RC Strasbourg, initially below them in the table, achieved a surprise win away at Lyon (2-1) that brought them above Brest and out of the relegation zone – at least, only by virtue of goal difference.
Asked about Brest’s performance and solidity at the back, manager Éric Roy saw the draw as “logical”, given Toulouse’s fitness and confidence. Aboukhlal’s equaliser was somewhat against the run of play, and saw the Brittany side lose out on three potentially-crucial points.
“You need only look at how many goals we have conceded since the start of the season (34). At this rate, we have little chance of achieving our objectives. It is obvious that we must go back to being pragmatic. The will, desire, and state of mind displayed (by the team) today give me confidence that we will get there.“
It is tight at the bottom of Ligue 1. Just eight points separate FC Nantes in 13th and AJ Auxerre at 19th. Only Angers SCO in last place may have tangible cause for concern: they sit a full seven points away from safety. Stade Brestois find themselves at the better end of the relegation zone in 17th at the halfway point of the season, level on points with RC Strasbourg at 16th.
Brest, playing in Ligue 1 for the fourth consecutive season after promotion from Ligue 2 in 2019, have half a season to revive their campaign. If Roy’s comments on his team’s spirit are to be taken seriously, then it is Brest’s Coupe de France game against Ligue 1’s dark horses RC Lens (2nd in the French top flight) next weekend in which their defensive strength may shine through.
GFFN | Brendan Cox