Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

Matchday 5 in France saw several 1-1 results and numerous matches featuring exciting halves of football, although there was only 1 match which featured end-to-end action for 90 minutes. By the end of the weekend, the names at the top of the table looked very familiar. Join me after the jump to find out how the usual suspects got there.

Saturday, September 13:

Auxerre 1-1 Nancy - This was one of the more lackluster matches of the weekend, as Auxerre dominated the run of play for the majority of the 90 minutes. Auxerre opened the scoring in the second half on a 54th minute strike from Lejeune, with Zerka responding for Nancy just 10 minutes later. The only other action of the match was two yellow cards for Auxerre (Mignot, 62nd minute; Pedretti, 70th minute).

Le Mans 1-2 Toulouse - Le Mans dominated time of possession (67% - 33%) and peppered the Toulouse net with 11 shots, but Toulouse ultimately prevailed thanks to early strikes from Mansare (11th minute) and Braaten (19th minute). Liverpool cast-off Le Tallec pulled one back for Le Mans in the 35th minute, but his teammates were listless for the rest of the match. Each side picked up 2 yellow cards, with Le Tallec this week's winner of the "Goal-scorer to get carded" award in the 47th minute.

Monaco 2-0 Lorient - Lorient maintained more possession (55%), and Monaco was whistled for offsides 7 times, but it was the latter who prevailed in this match. Park opened the scoring for Monaco in the 25th minute, but the goal of the match was provided by Nimani. The 19 year-old was a 65th minute substitute, and it took him only 5 minutes to gain possession and dribble the keeper for Monaco's second goal (70th minute).

Rennes 1-1 Le Havre - Ligue 1 newcomers Le Havre struggled in the first half, giving up a 27th minute strike to Briand. They managed to get the equalizer from Lesage in the 32nd minute, and were effective enough in the second half to maintain the tie. Rennes goal-scorer Briand was also yellow-carded in the 51st minute in a bid for this week's award (given to Le Tallec, above).

Lyon 3-2 Nice - Lloris gave up Lyon's first goal of the season when he was beaten by Bamogo in the 3rd minute. He was beaten again in the 20th minute, this time by Loic Remy, for a 2-0 Nice lead. And then things got interesting in this match. When Lyon was awarded a free kick in the 40th minute, Juninho scored on a screamer. He followed up the goal by being awarded a yellow card in the 43rd minute. Lyon began the second half in a dominant fashion, and Juninho scored on a second free kick in the 73rd minute. Soon after that goal, Nice received 2 yellow cards to Bamogo (goal-scorer carded alert!) and Hognon. And then things got really interesting in this match. In the 4th minute of extra time, Fae was yellow-carded, which was followed shortly by Hognon being whistled for handling the ball in the box. Benzema (who was a second-half substitute) stepped up to slot home the PK, and Rool was awarded a straight red card for his vehement protests.

Valenciennes 1-1 Grenoble - Another snoozer for most of the match, Grenoble was the quicker team but Valenciennes had more opportunities. The excitement came in the 85th minute when Battles handled the ball in the box and was red-carded for his protests. Pujol slotted home the PK for Valenciennes, who were all set to celebrate until Courtois tied the score in the 90th minute. Oops.

Bordeaux 1-1 Marseille - The best match of the day featured two incredibly evenly-matched teams. Bordeaux had 14 shots (4 on goal), while Marseille had 13 (2 on goal), with the corner kicks 6-4 in favor of Bordeaux and a 50%-50% time of possession. Marseille opened the scoring early in the 2nd minute (Kone, who was also carded in the 56th minute), and Chamakh evened the score for Bordeaux in the 25th minute. The remainder of the match featured excellent pressure on goal from both sides, with Mandanda called into action slightly more often.

Sunday, September 14:

Caen 2-0 Saint-Etienne - Despite 18 shots (5 on goal) and 56% of the possession, Saint-Etienne was unable to parlay their dominance into a win, meaning that they have lost 4 of their first 5 matches. They received excellent play from Bafetimbi Gomis, but it was Caen who capitalized on their chances (with 7 shots on goal) in the form of goals from ben Khalfallah (29th minute) and Nivet (90th minute, 2nd minute of extra time).

Sochaux 1-1 Lilles - Another match featuring 2 evenly matched teams, the first half was also another snoozer. Soon after the second half started, Sochaux opened the scoring on a strike from Privat (47th minute). Bastos drew Lilles even in the 63rd minute, but the rest of the match was notable only for the "almost-goal" from Lilles transfer-deadline signing De Melo.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Nantes - The final match of the weekend was also fairly even, providing an easy start for new Nantes coach Elie Baup. His comfort level dipped precipitously in the 7th minute when N'Daw was adjudged to have pushed Hoarau while in the box. Kezman stepped up for PSG to take the PK and provided the only goal of the match. Not having done enough for the day, N'Daw also picked up a yellow card in the 55th minute. Nantes threatened several more times, but Landreau was only called upon to make 2 saves.

So, after Matchday 5, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Olympique Lyonnais, 13 points on a 4-1-0 record; (2) Olympique de Marseille, 11 points on a 3-2-0 record; (3) Paris Saint-Germain, 10 points on a 3-1-1 record, with a +2 goal differential; and (4) Grenoble, 10 points on a 3-1-1 record, with a +1 goal differential.


Mike Georger said...

OM caught looking ahead to the ass beating they are going to receive tuesday. god isnt in france this time of year.

Andrew said...

Any word on how Adu is adjusting at Monaco?

Those Juninho goals were fairly spectacular. Fairly.