Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This week once again featured quite a bit of scoring, as well as more than a few yellow/red cards. The story of the weekend, however, is AS Nancy-Lorraine getting their first win of the season, coming against Valenciennes on Saturday. Join me after the jump for all of the scores and shenanigans.

Saturday, September 20:

Grenoble 0-1 Bordeaux - In a match featuring 2 teams near the top of the table (one of whom got abused by Chelsea in their Champions League match), there were more cards shown than legitimate scoring opportunities. The first half was extremely uneventful, with the only notable action being yellow cards given to Chamakh (43rd minute) and Diarra (45th minute). Grenoble got their first yellow card shortly after the start of the second half (Baning, in the 48th minute), and received another in the 68th minute (Vitakic). In between those, however, Bordeaux had two players sent off when Diarra was given a second yellow card for a deliberate handball in the 50th minute, and Wendel was given a straight red in the 53rd minute after a horrible tackle. Sensing trouble, Laurent Blanc brought on 19 year-old Jussie, who rewarded his manager with a goal in the 81st minute. Frustration set in for Grenoble, and Robin was sent off in the 90th minute with a straight red card after kicking Gourcuff in the face (which will not make Domenech happy). Jussie finished off his day by picking up a yellow card in the 1st minute of extra time to secure "Goal-scorer to get carded" honors for the week.

Le Havre 0-1 Lyon - In the most boring match of the weekend, Lyon pulled out the win after being awarded a PK in the 44th minute after Gillet took down Piquionne with a tug on the shirt. Ederson converted the gift for the only score of the match. Sidney Govou, after almost scoring in the 11th minute, received a yellow card in the 55th minute and was shown a red card in the 66th minute for a dangerous tackle.

Lille 3-2 Auxerre - This match featured end-to-end action and scoring outbursts from 2 different players. After a 2nd minute strike from De Melo gave Lille the lead, Auxerre received a brace from Quercia after the half (49th minute, 80th minute) to take the lead. Hazard responded to tie the match in the 88th minute, and De Melo secured his own brace when he poked the ball in the net after a frantic goal-mouth scramble in the 4th minute of extra time.

Lorient 1-1 Caen - After having lost 3 matches in a row, Lorient held on to a tie in order to earn a point. Safi put Lorient ahead 1-0 in the 35th minute and they dropped into an extremely defensive posture to try and hold on for the win. Unfortunately, Deroin hit a screamer into the top corner on the volley in the 85th minute to force the tie. This was followed shortly by a yellow card being awarded to Le Pen (90th minute; personally, I would immediately red card the bastard every time he stepped on the pitch).

Toulouse 2-1 Sochaux - Toulouse scored all 3 goals in this match, and Sochaux looked very listless. The winners started early, getting a brilliant goal from Gignac off a free kick. After some chippy play throughout both halves, Toulouse were awarded a PK after Didot was fouled in the box in the 61st minute. Didot stepped up and converted the spot kick for yet another brace on this score-filled Saturday. A few minutes later, Sochaux benefitted from an OG from Cetto (67th minute), but they were unable to seriously threaten for the rest of the match.

Nice 2-2 Le Mans - Nice got 2 early goals from Fae (2nd minute) and Remy (29th minute - and, confidential to ESPN, his name is Loic, not Ludovic (that would be Giuly)), and then promptly fell asleep for the rest of the match. Le Mans, on the other hand, managed to wake up for the second half, and got a gift OG from Hellebuyck (50th minute) and one that they earned from Lamah (86th minute). Other than that, the action in the second half was largely confined to the distribution of yellow cards, with 2 given to each side.

Nantes 2-0 Valenciennes - Valenciennes started the match looking like the more dangerous side, even earning a PK in the 9th minute (which Danic had blocked by Nantes GK Alonzo), but Nantes began to pressure near the 30-minute mark. After a brilliant save by Valenciennes GK Penneteau, Nantes got their first goal from Bagayoko who converted a PK in the 39th minute. Bagayoko earned his brace shortly after the second half began, slotting home a shot in the 54th minute, allowing Nantes to cruise to victory.

Sunday, September 21st:

Saint-Etienne 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain - Despite incredible pressure from Hoarau throughout the match, it was Saint-Etienne who earned the win after Dabo put them ahead in the 14th minute. After sitting out 1 game due to yellow card accumulation, PSG captain Claude Makelele was back in the line-up, and promptly picked up a yellow card in the 54th minute. This is his 5th yellow card in 5 matches played.

Nancy 0-0 Rennes - In an extremely ugly match that featured 16 fouls committed by each side, the nil-nil result was probably all that these clubs deserved. Rennes had the better run of play, with intense pressure from Briand, but it was to no avail. Symptomatic of the ugliness, Hansson was awarded a straight red card in the 84th minute for a very nasty tackle.

Marseille 0-0 Monaco - Although both teams appeared to have several legitimate chances, it was only Monaco's GK who was called into action to make saves during this match. Marseille applied pressure throughout the match, and Monaco (with Freddy Adu sitting on the bench) responded by committing 21 fouls in order to slow them down. In the end, L'OM was unable to overcome the slow pace forced by Monaco, and the match ended in a goalless draw.

So, after Matchday 6, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Olympique Lyonnais on 16 points with a 5-1-0 record and a +8 goal differential; (2) Olympique de Marseille on 12 points with a 3-3-0 record and a +6 goal differential; (3) Toulouse on 11 points with a 3-2-1 record an an even goal differential; and (4) Le Mans on 10 points with a 3-1-2 record and a +4 goal differential. Although it is still early in the season, Lyon once again look to be the class of Ligue 1.

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