Grougi’s goal enough for Ligue 1 Brest

Bruno Grougi’s first-half penalty gave Brest a valuable 1-0 win and carried them above Auxerre in the Ligue 1 survival battle.

Brest now stand 10th but they are just three points clear of second-bottom Valenciennes in the 20-team league, a measure of how crowded the table has become after 18 rounds of games.

Auxerre stand 14th, two points behind Brest, after a match where they were the masters of their own fate.

Brest were dominant early on, with Romain Poyet’s diving header from a corner delivered by Grougi drawing a block from goalkeeper Olivier Sorin.

Ben Basat created the next chance, flicking the ball to Nolan Roux who lobbed and looked to have beaten Sorin, but the keeper stretched back superbly to keep the attempt out.

Stephane Grichting then gave Brest the spot-kick which brought their winner in the 33rd minute, bringing down Grougi who stepped up to beat Sorin.

Auxerre had their first decent opening five minutes later when Kamel Chafni was played in by Rudy Haddad but curled a shot just wide.

Auxerre needed to start the second half brightly, a plan which did not take in losing a man.

But they were reduced to 10 men in the 54th minute when Chafni was ordered off for verbally abusing an assistant referee.

Gregory Lorenzi tried his luck from long range for Brest soon afterwards, with Sorin keeping his attempt out.

Auxerre were not finished, with Ben Sahar seeing a shot deflected away by Jonathan Zebina, followed by Roy Contout cracking a shot inches over the bar.

But Brest would not be denied a victory, a rarity for a side who had drawn 11 of their previous 17 league games before today, winning only twice.

They almost doubled their lead in stoppage time, and it was Grougi again.

He took a free-kick from outside the penalty area and, rather than waste time, drove his shot against the Auxerre woodwork.