Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

Lille had the result of the weekend, tying Lyon 2-2 (after gifting Lyon an OG). The rest of the weekend saw a good amount of scoring, with only one 0-0 draw, as well as the return of the "Goal-scorer to get carded" award.

Saturday, October 18th:

Bordeaux 2-1 Toulouse - The Gironde Derby saw a dominant performance by Bordeaux and the emergence of Gourcuff as a potential Ligue 1 star (finally). Bellion and Cavenaghi (who has been extremely dangerous lately) forced Toulouse GK Carrasso into some big saves early, and then never let up the pressure. In the 29th minute, Gourcuff sent the ball through 2 defenders with a back-heel pass to himself and fired the shot home. Bellion made the score 2-0 in the 40th minute and the rout was on. In fact, Toulouse only had one first-half chance, and Valverde made the easy save on Ebondo. In the 55th minute Gourcuff had his shot cleared off the line, preventing him from scoring a brace. Toulouse only pulled a goal back in the 92nd minute when Valverde spilled a corner right at the feet of Capoue.

Caen 2-2 Grenoble - In a very even match, it was bookend goals by Grenoble that allowed them to salvage a point. Arkour put them ahead in the 19th minute, but Caen equalized almost immediately when Battles was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area, with Savidan slotting home the resulting PK in the 24th minute. Florentin put Caen up 2-1 in the 58th minute, but Moreira gave Grenoble 1 point when he slotted home his shot in the 74th minute.

Monaco 1-2 Nice - In a match that Monaco dominated statistically (6-3 shots on goal; 59%-41% possession), it was Nice who made their chances count for the win. Nice got on the scoresheet early, as Remy assisted on a beautiful goal by Bamogo in the 9th minute. The remainder of the first half was a little chippy, as yellow cards were distributed to Diakite (Nice, 33rd minute), Simic (Monaco, 34th minute), Rool (Nice, 35th minute), and Apam (Nice, 45th minute). In addition to his yellow card, Diakite also took down Meriem in the box for a PK, which allowed Cufre to score Monaco's only goal in the 39th minute. The second goal for Nice came in the 57th minute when Fae was able to poach the rebound of a free kick off the post. Monaco became extremely frustrated towards the end of the match, resulting in a yellow card for Cufre (who wins the coveted "Goal-scorer to get carded" honors for the week), and a red card for Leko after a nasty clash with Modesto. Freddy Adu was subbed on in the 82nd minute for Monaco, but was fairly invisible.

Nantes 1-0 Saint-Etienne - Although they were dominated in time of possession (41%-59%), Nantes took their 3rd win in 4 matches. Their was plenty of excitement early, as Bekamenga (Nantes) headed just wide in the 19th minute, and an excellent Mareval free kick forced an even better save from Saint-Etienne GK Viviani. Nantes GK Alonzo was also called into action, saving a brilliant shot from 25 yards by Perrin and a header from Gomis. Bekamenga finally broke through in the 28th minute when he scored off a corner. The rest of the match was marred by 3 yellow cards to Nantes and 4 to Saint-Etienne.

Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 Lorient - Lorient last won on opening day, and that miserable streak continued on Saturday despite scoring the first goal (Saifi, 12th minute). Although PSG had more shots on goal (7-3), they looked suspect throughout the match. Pancrate was able to equalize at 1-1 in the 22nd minute, but Abriel put Lorient back on top in the 38th minute. They looked the better side until the 48th minute when their GK Audard sustained a hip injury and was forced to leave the match. Hoarau, who has been in excellent form lately, scored almost immediately after backup GK Cappone entered the match. The match remained tied until the 87th minute, when Arnaud slotted home the winner. Strange fact of the match: 4 of the 5 goals (the Abriel goal was the exception) were scored off headers.

Sochaux 1-1 Havre - This match featured the bottom 2 clubs in Ligue 1 and ended in an unsurprising tie. Sochaux had the more difficult trek, as they were reintegrating 6 players who were coming back from injuries. Alassane scored in the 45th minute to put Le Havre ahead, but Birsa equalized in the 72nd minute. Both clubs had chances to win the match, but both GKs made some excellent saves to preserve the tie.

Lyon 2-2 Lille - Lille got the most surprising result of the weekend, actually being unlucky not to win this match, which featured plenty of action. Early on, Beria forced Lyon GK Lloris in a great save, and Rami beat him in the 14th minute to give Lille the early lead. It was only an incredible blunder by Chedjou, who lobbed his GK Malicki for an own goal in the 22nd minute, that allowed Lyon to level the score. In the 62nd minute, Bastos blasted a free kick that bounced in front of Lloris and wound up in the back of the net. Lyon once again managed to pull level in the 75th minute when Grosso, returning from a 6-week layoff for broken ribs, got on the end of an excellent Juninho free kick. Benzema had a chance to win the game late, but Malicki made an excellent save.

Sunday, October 19th:

Auxerre 0-0 Rennes - In a match dominated by Auxerre, the end result was nothing but yellow cards (1 to Auxerre, 3 to Rennes), although Rennes managed to continue their streak of being unbeaten since the middle of August. Quercia forced a good save from Rennes GK Douchez in the 5th minute, and they continued to press throughout the entire match, later forcing Douchez to tip a Pedretti shot onto the post. Rennes did not get a shot on goal until the 36th minute, and was ineffective after that until the final 15 minutes of the game. During that time, Auxerre GK Riou made a good save on Thomert, and Rennes hit the post twice (Sow and Fanni).

Le Mans 2-0 Nancy - Although Nancy dominated the time of possession, holding the ball 60% of the time, it was Le Mans who had the most chances and made them count. The first goal came when Lamah sent in a poor cross that was pounced upon by Nancy defender Berenguer in the 33rd minute. Unfortunately, Berenguer mis-hit his clearance, and the ball went past his GK Bracigliano. After Lamah slammed home the second goal in the 66th minute, Nancy appeared to give up and the rest of the match was relatively listless.

Valenciennes 1-3 Marseille - L'OM completely dominated this match, and made Valenciennes look helpless from the first kick. Kone put Marseille ahead in the 13th minute, and they never looked back. Valenciennes had their best oportunity when Tiene beat L'OM GK Mandanda, but the shot came crashing back after hitting the crossbar. Young phenom Ben Arfa slotted home a second goal for the club in the 73rd minute and the match was all but over. Valenciennes pulled one goal back when Pujol scored in the 81st minute, but Kabore sealed the 3 points for Marseille in the 92nd minute.

So, after matchday 9, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, on 20 points with a 6-2-1 record and a +6 goal differential; (2) Marseille, on 19 points with a 5-4-0 record, with a +9 goal differential; (3) Le Mans, on 17 points with a 5-2-2 record, with a +7 goal differential; and (4) Bordeaux, on 17 points with a 5-2-2 record, with a +4 goal differential.

1 comment:

The Fan's Attic said...

Freddy Adu was subbed on in the 82nd minute for Monaco, but was fairly invisible.

This seems to be a recurring theme.