Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

Lorient get the result of the week in an absolutely stunning 3-2 victory over Marseille. The rest of the weekend's matches once again saw an abundance of goals, many of them coming from the usual suspects (no, not Keyser Soze). Join me after the jump for the intriguing details.

Saturday, November 15th:

Auxerre 1-0 Sochaux - FC Sochaux-Montbeliard continue to take their lumps in Ligue 1, losing to Auxerre in a lackluster match. Auxerre had Mignot send a free-kick over the bar in the 4th minute, but for the next few minutes it was Sochaux who provided the pressure in the form of Maurice-Belay. In the 31st minute, Niculae began a counter-attack that ended with Lejeune slotting the ball home for the only goal. The only other notable action came in the 47th minute when Lejeune picked upa yellow card to lock up the "Goal-scorer to get carded award" for the week.

Havre 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain - Former Le Havre youngster Hoarau has been having an excellent season as of late, and he made his former club pay today. He started off the match strong with a shot just wide in the 4th minute, and followed that up with a strike that just hit the post in the 11th minute. Just 7 minutes later, Hoarau hit the post again with a header, but this time the ball glanced into the net for the first goal of the match. In the 34th minute Clement sent in a cross that was finished by Giuly to put PSG up 2-0. Le Havre pulled one goal back in the 48th minute when Alassane headed home a corner from Lesage. Hoarau became the Ligue 1 leading scorer in the 90th minute when he converted a PK after Havre GK Revault pulled down Luyindula in the box.

Le Mans 1-0 Valenciennes - Valenciennes has now gone 11 matches in a row without a win, and their play here was a clear illustration of why that is the case. The lone goal of the match came off a corner kick by Coutadeur which bounced directly into the goal without having been touched by anyone else. Le Tallec should have at least doubled the goals, but he put shots over the bar and into the post. Valenciennes GK Grondin was called upon to make several saves on Gervinho and Maiga (including a nasty shot from 20 yards), and he did well to avoid the club a more embarassing result.

Nancy 1-1 Caen - Raineau almost opened the scoring for Caen in the 3rd minute, but his shot was well-saved. Savidan continued to provide pressure for Caen, and he was rewarded in the 51st minute when he slotted home a through-ball from Toudic. Unfortunately for Caen, they also scored the second goal in the match in the 72nd minute when the ball was knocked into his own net by Boucansaud after a quick corner.

Toulouse 2-0 Grenoble - Despite only having 43% of the possession, Toulouse was dominant in this match, mostly thanks to Gignac. In the 2nd minute, Mathieu took a shot on goal that Grenoble GK Wimbee pushed wide, directly to the feet of Gignac. Grenoble was almost able to respond in the 8th minute, but Djadjede had his shot stopped by Carrasso. In the 19th minute, Gignac completed his brace when he received a through-ball from Congre and lobbed the oncoming Wimbee. Toulouse could have added a third goal when Didot beat Wimbee, but the ball was cleared off the line by Jemmali.

Lille 3-0 Saint-Etienne - Alain Perrin took over the beleaguered 10-time champions on Tuesday and quickly discovered that he faces an enormous uphill battle this season. His GK Janot was called into action early, making saves in the 3rd minute on Bastos and in the 9th on an excellent Cabaye free-kick. In the 15th minute Machado almost opened the scoring for Saint-Etienne, but his shot clattered off the bar. 10 minutes later, Hazard dribbled half of the Saint-Etienne defense (literally) and slotted home an easy shot. In the 34th minute Bastos chipped a ball into the box that was headed home by Obraniak (who was played very well in the last 4 matches). The final goal came in the 70th minute when Bastos, involved in his second goal, played a through-ball to Vittek, who had beaten the offside trap to come in alone on the goal.

Marseille 2-3 Lorient - In what can accurately be described as the best match of the season so far in Ligue 1, Lorient pulled off a stunning upset of a club 10 places and 10 points ahead of them in the table. L'OM had 59% of the possession and lead the match 2-0 in the 75th minute, which is when their world collapsed. In the 5th minute Niang hit the post to start things off for Marseille, and the scoring was opened in the 10th minute when Cheyrou sent a cross whistling through the defense for Ziani to finish into the top corner. Lorient got their first chance in the 25th minute, but Abriel blasted an easy chance over the bar. Marseille got their 2nd goal in the 60th minute when Genton was adjudged (wrongly) to have brought down Niang in the box (he was clearly outside), and Niang finished the PK himself. In the 69th minute karma caught up to L'OM and Niang when he had a goal (wrongly) disallowed for being offsides (he was clearly onsides). Perhaps demoralized, Marseille then endured a nightmare scenario. In the 76th minute, Amalfitano opened the scoring for Lorient with an incredible volley, and in the 84th minute Abriel drilled a shot into the goal from 25 yards. The 3 points were snatched by Lorient in the 88th minute when Gameiro was released on a quick counter-attack and made the most of his chance. Interestingly, for all of the pace of the match and contentiousness once the comeback began, there were a total of zero cards handed out to both clubs.

Sunday, November 16th:

Nice 2-1 Nantes - Nice dominated Nantes, getting off 18 shots and holding 63% of the possession, but it was Nantes who scored first when N'Daw sent a low free-kick into the net in the 8th minute. Nice equalized in the 20th minute when Bamogo headed home a Hellebuyck free-kick. Hellebuyck provided more pressure in the 50th minute when he sent another free-kick just wide. In the 80th minute Mouloungui received an early pass from Saada and sent the shot home. Nantes almost equalized near the end of the match when Bagayoko lobbed Nice GK Letizi, but the ball rolled agonizingly along the goal-line for several seconds before being cleared by the defense.

Rennes 2-1 Monaco - Monaco was completely outplayed in this match, with their only shot on goal coming on a PK. Rennes looked sharp early, with good play from Leroy to Briand to Sow in the 10th minute forcing a save from Monaco GK Roma. The ball rebounded to Kembo, but he was unable to capitalize. In the 32nd minute Fanni forced another save from Roma, which he tipped onto post. Rennes finally broke through in the 43rd minute when Briand sent an excellent pass to Sow, whose initial shot was saved. Sow gathered the rebound and lobbed Roma. The second goal came early in the second half when Rennes GK Douchez sent forward a long ball that was gathered by Briand for a clinical finish. Monaco pulled one goal back in the 72nd when Mangane fouled Park in the box and Cufre slotted home the PK. Freddy Adu watch: substituted into the match in the 69th minute, and looked comfortable in the final 20 minutes.

Lyon 2-1 Bordeaux - In a match where Bordeaux looked like they were bossing Lyon all over the pitch, it was the latter club who ended things with two goals in a 5-minute span. Bordeaux took 23 shots and had 65% of the possession, while Lyon were forced to commit 32 fouls due to the pace of their opponents. Early on it looked like Lyon would regret starting the 19 year-old Gassama over defensive stalwart Fabio Grosso. In the 11th minute, Lyon GK Lloris was called upon to make an excellent save on Wendel, and Boumsong managed to clear a shot from Chamakh off the line. Bordeaux GK Valverde made his first save in the 19th minute when Govou struck the ball well, and Lloris was active again minutes later when Gourcuff blasted a shot at the Lyon goal in the 23rd minute. In the 33rd minute, a brilliant 1-2 between Fred (who sent the pass through blindly) and Benzema resulted in the Ligue 1-leading 8th goal (he is tied with Gignac and Hoarau) for the latter. Just 5 minutes later, Kallstrom (given the starting nod over Makoun) had an absolute rocket deflected into the goal. Cavenaghi (who notched his 7th goal of the season) pulled one back for Bordeaux in the 81st minute, but it was not enough.

So, after Matchday 14, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 33 points on a 10-3-1 record and a +12 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 26 points on a 7-5-2 record and a +11 goal differential; (3) Rennes, with 25 points on a 6-7-1 record and a +9 goal differential; and (4) Nice, with 25 points on a 7-4-3 record and a +5 goal differential.

Some new clubs burst into the Top 4, but Lyon look to be running away with Ligue 1 yet again with 7 point lead at the 1/3 point of the season.


jjf3 said...


this is long overdue, but thank you for the Bordeaux recommendation...

Today's game was a frustrating one to watch, though I didn't get to watch all of it...which sucked (I missed the late goal)...

Anyways, EPL fans - my head asploded listening to what Everton played at the end of half-time this morning - do they play that 50's sounding shit every half-time, or only when halftime goes 5 minutes too long? I thought I was in the wrong decade for a moment...or maybe it was just being awake/hungover that early on a weekend...?

ΓΌ75 said...

Oh man. I missed the American derby (of sorts).

The NY Kid said...

@jjf3 - you're quite welcome. They have definitely been involved in some of the more entertaining matches of the season