The difference in class was clear for all to see during the 1st leg, as Toulouse cruised to a 3-0 victory against their Ligue 2 opponents and now surely will remain in the top flight of French football for another season. Ajaccio can head into the 2nd leg pressure free as nobody is expecting them to turn this game around. Naturally there is a danger that the Toulouse players will head into this deciding leg already believing they have won, and an early goal for Ajaccio could change the complexion of this Ligue 1 Play-Off Final.
A goal from former Leeds and Bournemouth winger Max Gradel in first half stoppage time proved a pivotal moment in the 1st leg as it sent Toulouse into the break with a moral boosting lead. Toulouse were clearly lifted by that goal and soon doubled their advantage through defender Jullien. Damage limitation was now the key for Ajaccio, who could not afford to concede another goal and in truth needed to score one of their own. However, Sanogo was the next name on the scoreboard and that third goal for Toulouse has almost completely obliterated any hopes Ajaccio had of a return to the top flight of French football.
Despite that 1st leg defeat Ajaccio head into Sunday’s decider as the form favourites with two wins, two draws, and two defeats from their last six matches. Toulouse have also won two of their last six, but three defeats and just one draw leaves the Ligue 1 side behind Ajaccio in the form guide. We’re expecting another goal filled game between these two clubs on Sunday, as Ajaccio need to go for broke and Toulouse will search for a killer fourth goal to ensure their status as a top flight club. Over 2.5 goals have been scored in five of Toulouse’s and three of Ajaccio’s last six matches, while four out of the last five encounters between the pair have also witnessed at least three goals scored. Both teams to score has been a common theme in both clubs recent results and we can see both sides getting on the scoreboard on Sunday, but we believe Toulouse will win on the day.
Max Gradel has proved a key figure in Toulouse’s survival attempt, top scoring in the league and scoring the all important first goal against Ajaccio. In Gimbert and Nouri Ajaccio boast a talented partnership that between them has scored twenty-seven league goals this season, and how they could do with the duo combining in the 2nd leg.
We’re confident that over 2.5 goals will be scored in the 2nd leg, and that Toulouse will claim a narrow 2-1 victory (4-1 on aggregate). The hosts have probably already done enough to retain their Ligue 1 status, and we can see Ajaccio throwing everything at their opponents in a desperate attempt to claw their way back into the tie, leaving gaps in behind for Toulouse to expose.
Toulouse Predicted Lineup: Lafont, Moubandje, Jullien, Yago, Diop, Durmaz, Somália, Imbula, Sangaré, Gradel, Sanogo.
Ajaccio Predicted Lineup: Mandanda, Avinel, Hergault, Marin, Camara, Lejeune, Cavalli, Nouri, Boé-Kane, Maâzou, Gimbert.
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These two sides have played one another fifteen times before, and with 8 wins, 2 draws, and 5 defeats its Toulouse who lead the head to head record. Toulouse are unbeaten against Ajaccio in their last four competitive meetings.
Cahuzac and Delort missed the 1st leg and aren’t expected to return for Sunday’s decider.
Mandanda is expected to continue in goal after coming on for the injured Leca during the 1st leg, while Coutadeur and Sainati are both suspended.