Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

The result of the week goes to FC Sochaux-Montbeliard, as the Ligue 1 bottom-dwellers got their first win over mid-table Le Mans UC 72. The rest of the matches provided quite a bit of excitement and continued the offensive resurgence of Ligue 1 with no nil-nil draws.

Saturday, November 8:

Bordeaux 2-0 Auxerre - Bordeaux dominated the match statistically, but was only able to secure the 3 points in the last 20 minutes. Auxerre, who had not given up a goal in 395 minutes, was the aggressor early with Oliech forcing a save from Bordeaux GK Valverde on a lobbed shot. However, the pressure quickly came from the other side in the form of Cavenaghi, who headed a shot barely over the bar in the 30th minute, and forced a save from Auxerre GK Riou in the 47th minute. In the 70th minute, Cavenaghi received a pass from Bellion to put him through on goal and he easily slotted home the goal. In the 75th minute, Gourcuff sent in a brilliant cross that was headed home by Chamakh. The big news out of this match was the injury to back-up Bordeaux GK Valverde (who had replaced 1st-string GK Rame in the Champions League match against Cluj). Valverde had to be taken off in the 43rd minute after being knocked unconscious in a collision with Oliech (who received a yellow card). While Valverde was taken to the hospital (and appears to be suffering from a concussion and slight amnesia), he was replaced by 3rd-string GK Olimpa.

Caen 0-1 Le Havre - Once again a club that was statistically dominant came out on the losing end, as Caen held 62% of the possession but provided Le Havre with their first away win of the season. In the 8th minute Alassane made a scintillating run through the defense and slotted the ball through the legs of Caen GK Plante, who was able to recover and clear the ball off the line. From that point on, it was Le Havre GK Revault who was busier, stopping Savidan in the 20th minute and a Benzola free-kick in the 45th minute. In the 68th minute Revault was called upon to save a shot from Savidan once again, but it was Dieuze who headed home a free-kick from Alla in the 83rd minute for the win.

Grenoble 0-3 Marseille - Despite only having 5 shots on goal and 2 corner-kicks, Marseille made Grenoble look incompetent thanks to the trio of Ben Arfa, Kone, and Cheyrou. L'OM struck very early, with Ben Arfa redirecting Niang's shot into the goal in the 4th minute. Niang was there again in the 9th minute to strike the rebound from a Tauvo free-kick, but Grenoble GK Wimbee made the save. Grenoble's best chance came in the 25th minute when Feghouli hit the post, but in the 32nd minute Kone put the match out of reach off a Bonnart cross. At the end of the first half Romao was played through by Regragui, but Marseille GK Mandanda made a brilliant save. Cheyrou (after picking up a yellow card in the 61st minute) finished off the scoring in the 82nd minute on a 25-yard strike to take home "Goal-scorer to get carded" honors for the week.

Lorient 0-1 Nice - Nice, who are unbeaten in 6 matches, moved to 4th in the table with this win. They began the pressure early, as Mounloungi beat Lorient GK Joenel in the 3rd minute only to have Genton clear the ball off the line. After that, it was Lorient who looked more likely to score, as Abriel peppered Nice GK Letizi with well-struck free-kicks. The lone goal of the match came in the 23rd minute when Ehouafni headed home a Hellebuyck free-kick. Lorient almost equalized in the 89th minute when Ayew sent a diving header toward goal, but the brilliant Letizi was equal to the task yet again.

Monaco 0-1 Lyon - Lyon, sitting Juninho and only using Benzema as a second-half substitution, looked listless but took the 3 points from an even worse-looking Monaco. Pressure on Monaco came through Fred, Kallstrom, and Toulalan after Lyon GK Lloris made his only save of the match in the 1st minute on a soft shot from Mello. Benzema made an immediate difference in the second half, volleying a shot wide in the 52nd minute. The lone goal came from Fred in the 55th minute on a cross from Kallstrom. Freddy Adu watch: Back on the bench, but did not see any action.

Sochaux 2-1 Le Mans - Ligue 1 patsies Sochaux got their first win of the season over a Le Mans club that had been performing well lately. Lamah hit the post for Le Mans in the 8th minute, and his GK Pele made an excellent save on Dos Santos in the 28th minute. Just 2 minutes later Dos Santos scored on a well-struck cross from Pitau. Paulo Andre equalized right before the half on a cross into the 6-yard box from Coutadeur. The 3 points for Sochaux came from Boudebouz, who struck in the 68th minute for his first Ligue 1 goal ever.

Nantes 1-1 Toulouse - In a match featuring 42 fouls and 3 yellow cards (all for Toulouse), the two clubs played to a draw after early goals. Moullec opened the scoring for Nantes in the 5th minute after Da Rocha sent a headed pass into the 6-yard box for him to finish. Toulouse responded in the 19th minute when Sirieix had his shot spilled by Nantes GK Alonzo at the feet of Gignac. In the 30th minute Moullec was denied a brace when he sent his shot over the bar. That was followed shortly by a brilliant save from Toulouse GK Carrasso on a N'Daw shot that was dipping under the bar. Despite a few more shots from both clubs, the match ended with 1 point to both clubs.

Sunday, November 9th:

Saint-Etienne 0-3 Rennes - Saint-Etienne gaffer Laurent Roussey is in serious danger of losing his job after the 10-time Ligue 1 champions suffered their 5th straight loss. In the 9th minute Daze sent in a 30-yard shot that was saved by Saint-Etienne GK Viviani, who was under siege for the majority of the match. Rennes opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Briand took a poor clearance from Benalouane and sent in a pass to Pagis for the goal. Minutes later Pagis sent in a screaming 25-yard free-kick that Viviani parried away. In the 30th minute, Pagis sent in another deadly free-kick, but the ensuing Mbia header was saved by Viviani again. Saint-Etienne's best chance of the match came when in the 35th minute when Payet forced a save from Rennes GK Douchez. Soon after the start of the second half Pagis sent in yet another shot, which Viviani spilled at the feet of Fanni, who sent in the rebound for a goal. 2 minutes later Pagis came in 1-on-1 on Viviani and scored the final goal of the match amid jeers from the Saint-Etienne home supporters.

Valenciennes 0-1 Nancy - Valenciennes, winless since August, looked improved in their loss to Nancy. The lone goal of the match came when Valenciennes GK Penneteau brought down Hadji in the box in the 15th minute. Gavanon stepped up to slot home the PK, despite Penneateau guessing correctly. Valenciennes then had the better chances, with Bezzaz and Saez forcing saves from Nancy GK Bracigliano in the first half. The second half started with maintained pressure, as Bracigliano was called upon to make an excellent diving save on a Mater free-kick in the 46th minute. Audel hit the post twice for Valenciennes in the final 10 minutes, but was unable to capitalize on his chances.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Lille - Lille, who had been unbeaten in 9 matches, fell to PSG, who had lost 2 straight. Cabaye provided the early pressure for Lille, hitting the post with a 30-yard free-kick in the 2nd minute and forcing a save from PSG GK Landreau on another 30-yard shot in the 8th minute. The lone goal came in the 39th minute when Landreau sent a long ball forward, which Hoarau headed to Giuly for the finish. Lille should have equalized in the 60th minute when Chedjou was left unmarked in the box on a free-kick, but the ensuing header was not well-struck. Bastos had two more chances for Lille in the final 5 minutes of the match, but he was unable to capitalize.

So, after Matchday 13 the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 30 points on a 9-3-1 record, with a +11 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 26 points on a 7-5-1 record, with a +12 goal differential; (3) Bordeaux, with 24 points on a 7-3-3 record, with a +9 goal differential; and (4) Rennes, with 22 points on a 5-7-1 record, with a +8 goal differential.


phil said...

The news doesn't get any better for St. Etienne, as they are rumored to haved hired Damien Comolli in some sort of administrative role. If it's anything beyond taking dictation, they're fucked.

JT said...

And to think I was sochaux that they would lose yet again. My boldness was unrewarded. :(