Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This weekend's key matchup in Ligue 1 was the Saturday match between Olympique Lyonnais and Grenoble Foot 38, who were both found at the top of the table. The rest of the day featured a series of close matches, while the Sunday matches were exciting as well.

When last we met, the top of the table looked like this: (1) Grenoble; (2) Marseille; (3) Lyon; and (4) Monaco. This weekend's matches made things a little more interesting.

Saturday, August 23:

Havre 0-1 Marseille - Olympique de Marseille continued its good run of form, getting a second win to push to 7 points from 3 matches. Zenden scored in the second half (and picked up a yellow card 20 minutes later) for the lone goal. The match was also marked by 2 yellow cards given to Zubar, with his second coming in second-half injury time. A stupid mistake will cost the defender some playing time.

Le Mans 1-0 Saint-Etienne - Le Mans took advantage of a relatively feeble-looking defense to score in the 38th minute (Helstad). Domenech's surprise Euro 2008 choice, Beftimbi Gomis, looked largely ineffectual up top for Saint-Etienne, putting several shots over the bar, although he did win some free kicks in dangerous spots.

Monaco 1-1 Caen - With Freddy Adu back roaming the pitch, Monaco had the better of this match, scoring shortly after the start of the second half (Nimani). Unfortunately, with only 15 minutes to go in the match midfielder Leko put one in the net for Caen. Leko plays for Monaco. Oops!

Nancy 0-0 Toulouse - In a complete snoozefest, both Nancy and Toulouse booted the ball up and down the pitch to no result. The only entertainment in this match came from a straight red card to Nancy's Dia in the 77th minute for some physical shenanigans in the box after his shot was saved. Didot (Toulouse) managed to pick himself up a yellow card in second-half injury time.

Sochaux 1-1 PSG - Considering that Sochaux is at the bottom of the table, this is a game that PSG had really thought they would win. However, the first half was uneventful other than a yellow card to Makelele in the 16th minute (Claude! That's 2 in 2 matches!). PSG then put themselves on their heels when they gave up a penalty in the 49th minute, which was easily converted by Erding. Fortunately for them, Sessegnon pulled them even in the 63rd minute, although he also managed to pick up a yellow card 10 minutes later to continue the Ligue 1 tradition of goalscorers getting booked this season.

Valenciennes 3-1 Lorient - This match started with a bang, as Valenciennes scored in the 3rd minute (Pujol). They bossed Lorient all over the pitch for the remainder of the half, scoring again in the 32nd minute (Audel). Lorient pulled one back when Gameiro struck within the first few minutes of the second half, but Pieroni put the match away with a 90th minute strike.

Lyon 2-0 Grenoble - Lyon got off to a fast start, with Makoun scoring on a header off their first corner of the match in the 6th minute. The teams then traded several shots for the next 30 minutes, until Benzema received a beautiful ball from Juninho while sitting in the box and pushed it across for a 2-0 lead. The end of the first half and beginning of the second was marked by numerous fouls, with play being stopped several times for "injuries." The rest of the half featured more pressure from Lyon, with Benzema getting off several shots, but the match finished 2-0.

Sunday, August 24:

Auxerre 0-1 Nice - Alaeddine Yahia made a triumphant return to the first team, scoring in the 29th minute to provide Nice with all the firepower that they would need. However, Nice goalkeeper Letizi made things interesting when he fouled Auxerre's Oliech in the box (and picked up a yellow card for his trouble). Fortunately for Letizi, the penalty kick was pushed wide left by Lejeune, and Nice survived the match to take all 3 points.

Rennes 2-1 Lille - Other than the 34th minute Lille goal (Cabaye), there was little of note in the first half of this match. The second half, however, provided enough fireworks to last a few weeks. Early into the half, Rennes got the first yellow card of the match (Fanni), followed swiftly by a double-yellow (one each to Thomert of Rennes and Debuchy of Lille). The 79th minute saw yet another yellow to Rennes (Asamoah), and Lille picked up its second minutes later (Rami). But the best was yet to come despite the fact that Lille felt comfortable up 1-0. Unfortunately for them, Rennes struck in the first minute of injury time (Cheyrou) to tie the game. Sow then scored in the 4th minute of injury time to seal the 3 points (and picked up a yellow card as well) and keep Lille at the bottom of the table.

Bordeaux 2-0 Nantes - 5 minutes into the match, Heurtebis (who was given a yellow card) fouled Bellion in the box. Bordeaux's Fernando Cavenaghi easily converted the penalty kick for a 1-0 lead. The remainder of the first half was marked by numerous fouls, several chances at goal that were very poorly taken, and some relatively easy saves. The second half featured even more fouls, and even fewer adequate shots on goal until Bordeaux went up 2-0 on a Fernando (not to be confused with the above-named Fernando Cavenaghi, whom he replaced) strike in the 86th minute. Despite numerous fouls in the last few minutes of the game, Nantes was unable to turn their opportunities into any goals.

So, after Matchday 3, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Marseille / Lyon, both at 2-1-0 with 7 points and a +5 goal differential; (3) Le Mans at 2-0-1 with 6 points and a +2 goal differential; and (4) Valenciennes / Nice at 2-0-1 with 6 points and a +1 goal differential.

1 comment:

Lingering Bursitis said...

Alaeddine Yahia made a triumphant return to the first team

and to the list of my favourite names ever