Mikautadze brace boosts Metz in French relegation fight


Lens' Portuguese midfielder #10 David Pereira da Costa (L) and Lens' Ecuadorian midfielder #13 Jhoanner Chavez (C) fight for the ball with Metz' Georgian French forward #10 Georges Mikautadze during the French L1 football match between FC Metz and RC Lens at the Saint-Symphorien Stadium in Longeville-les-Metz, eastern France, on April 12, 2024.

Georges Mikautadze's first-half double gave Metz a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Lens and secured three vital points for the home club in their bid to avoid relegation from France's top tier.

It was Metz's first win after three consecutive defeats. They remain second-to-last, but Metz are now level on 26 points with Lorient, the team immediately above them.

Nantes and Le Havre have 28 points, and Clermont are last with 21.

The bottom two teams go down and the team in 16th place enters a relegation play-off.

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Florian Sotoca put Lens ahead from the penalty spot after 13 minutes following a trip on Wesley Said, but Mikautadze equalised 11 minutes before halftime when he created space for himself in a packed penalty box and fired an unstoppable shot high into the net.

On the stroke of halftime the Georgian took advantage of sloppy defending - and quick thinking by teammate Kevin N'Doram - to put Metz ahead.

The Lens defence was caught in possession as it tried to play the ball out, and N'Doram stabbed the ball forward to Mikautadze, who coolly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper to make it 2-1.

The result was a blow to Lens, who would have gone fifth above Nice with a win. They remain in sixth place, a point behind Nice and three ahead of Reims.

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