Paris Saint-Germain get the result of the week, handing Lyon only their 2nd Ligue 1 loss of the season. The match itself was chock full of shenanigans, which you can discover after the jump.
Saturday, November 22nd:
Bordeaux 1-1 Rennes - Once again Bordeaux dominated a match statistically but was unable to pull out more than a single point. The club started off the match quickly, getting a nice combination from Wendel to Chamakh in the 14th minute, but the resulting header was saved by Rennes GK Douchez. Bordeaux GK Valverde then shot his team in the foot in the 20th minute when his clearance hit Rennes striker Thomert and rolled into the goal. Valverde made up for his gaffe in the 27th minute when he made a brilliant 1-on-1 save on Briand, and followed that up with another great save on a Mangane volley. Mangane was then involved on the wrong end in the 60th minute, when he and Douchez had a serious miscommunication which allowed to Gourcuff to charge in and slot home the easy chance. In the waning minutes Gourcuff and Cavenaghi twice combined to force Douchez into saves to preserve the tie.
Caen 1-0 Auxerre - Auxerre dominated this match early, and in the 6th minute Hengbart sent in a nice cross to Hafni who shot over the crossbar. In the 29th minute Nivet almost scored, but his header was kept out by Auxerre GK Riou. The lone goal of the match came in the 57th minute when Lemaitre slotted his header past Riou. Auxerre almost rescued the point in the 65th minute when Niculae beat Caen GK Plante, but the ball was cleared off the line by Sorbon.
Grenoble 0-0 Le Havre - In a matchup of clubs moving (slightly) in opposite directions, Le Havre escaped the relegation zone while Grenoble now has zero wins in their last five matches. Havre started off better, with Lesage getting the first shot on goal in the 1st minute, although it was straight into Grenoble GK Wimbee. The pressure from Grenoble then came through Courtois, who forced Havre GK Revault into two nice saves in the span of a few minutes. The best chance of the match came for Grenoble in the 66th minute when Djadjedje sent in a cross to Akrour, who put the resulting shot over the bar. Wimbee was called upon to make a final save when an Idir free-kick into Nestor was placed on goal.
Lorient 1-0 Toulouse - Lorient played surprisingly well in this match, forcing Toulouse into 27 fouls. The pressure started early, when Vahirua forced a save from Toulouse GK Carrasso in the 7th minute. The first legitimate threat on goal for Toulouse did not come until the 30th minute when Mathieu hit the post with his header. In the second half, Didot provided the pressure, hitting the post in the 50th minute and forcing a great save from Lorient GK Audard off a free-kick in the 52nd minute. Just one minute later, Audard made a great save off a brilliant diving header by Capoue. The breakthrough finally came in the 75th minute on a counter-attack when Abriel sent in a nice cross for Gameiro to finish.
Saint-Etienne 0-1 Nice - Saint-Etienne took 19 shots (5 on goal), and had 65% of the possession, but it was Nice who picked up the 3 points, winning their 4th in a row. In the 9th minute, Hellebuyck took an excellent free-kick that forced Saint-Etienne GK Jadot into a save. But it was Saint-Etienne who almost scored first when an Ilan volley beat Nice GK Letizi in the 14th minute, only to be cleared off the line by Bamogo. Echouafni broke the deadlock with a header in the 20th minute, and Nice then sank into a mostly defensive posture. Gomis had three excellent chances, putting a shot just outside the post in the 30th minute, having a volley saved by Letizi in the 46th minute, and then missing an easy header, but the Saint-Etienne (and Les Bleus) striker was booed off the pitch when he was substituted. His day was almost made worse when his substitute Gigliotti almost rescued 1 point in the 92nd minute, forcing yet another save from Letizi.
Valenciennes 2-2 Sochaux - Valenciennes gaffer Kombouare received the dreaded vote of confidence during the week, and he watched his side struggle in this battle of relegation zone clubs. His club almost gave up an early goal in the 10th minute when Tulasne lobbed Valenciennes GK Penneteau, but the shot went just wide. They did not get a chance of their own until the 37th minute, but Belmadi's shot was well-saved by Sochaux GK Richert. Disaster struck two minutes later when Erdinq picked off a soft backpass and scored to put Sochaux ahead 1-0. But Valenciennes fought back in the 2nd half, with Saez poking the ball through Richert's legs during a goal-mouth scramble in the 63rd minute, and Audel hitting a stunning volley in the 68th minute. Unfortunately, Sochaux struck in the 87th minute when Privat (who takes home this week's "Goal-scorer to get carded" award by default) headed the ball past Penneteau.
Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Lyon - Although the offensive pressure was even for both clubs, Lyon committed 21 fouls to only 10 for PSG as they fell for only the 2nd time in the Ligue 1 season. Lyon started off dominant, with Ederson and Benzema forcing early saves from PSG GK Landreau, but it was mostly downhill from there. In the 12th minute, Reveillere was stretchered off with a knee injury, and Lyon were forced to bring on Kolodziejczak in his first appearance. PSG struck in the 25th minute when Giuly headed home the cross from Ceara to provide the 1-0 lead. In the 35th minute, Kallstrom stole the ball from Makelele and provided Govou with a set-up, but Landreau made an excellent save. Then things got even worse for Lyon. Juninho (who coach Claude Puel had on the bench yet again) came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute and immediately sent a volley over the crossbar. Just 15 minutes later, he received a straight red card for a nasty tackle on Armand. Despite being down to 10 men, Lyon almost equalized in the 86th minute, but the shot from Fred was well-saved by the busy Landreau.
Sunday, November 23rd:
Monaco 3-0 Le Mans - Monaco bossed Le Mans all over the pitch and came away with the 3 points. Le Mans GK Pele was first called into action in the 13th minute on a shot from Adriano, followed shortly by Monaco GK Roma making a nice save on Le Tallec. In the 38th minute Baal took down Licara in the box, but Cuffre was unable to capitalize for Monaco, sending the PK over the crossbar. His club responded well in the second half, as the scoring was opened in the 49th minute when Alonso received a pass from Park and then dribbled two defenders to push the ball past Pele. Just one minute later Meriem sent a free-kick into the box, and Andre unfortunately headed the ball into his own goal. Three minutes after that the scoring was complete, as Licata hit a thunderous volley past the flat-footed Pele. Le Mans almost salvaged some pride with a goal in the 81st minute when Thomas volleyed a Coutadeur cross, but Roma was equal to the task. Freddy Adu watch: Freddy was a 90th substitute. I mean, seriously, why bother?
Nantes 0-1 Nancy - Nantes took 19 shots and Nancy committed 20 fouls, but it was the latter club who came away with the win. In the 8th minute a long throw from
Rory Delap N'Daw went into Klasnic, whose shot hit the Nancy post. N'Daw then played Bagayoko through, but Nancy GK Bracigliano made a nice save. Bagayoko then hit the post twice, and sent a shot just wide in the remaining minutes of the first half. At the start of the second half N'Daw had his shot saved by the busy Bracigliano, and Moullec put the rebound wide. Klasnic then shot wide from 30 yards, as Nantes continued to waste chances. They paid for their inability to score in the 74th minute when Hadji headed in a nice cross from Berenguer.
Marseille 2-2 Lille - In a fairly even match overall, Lille looked to take the 3 points early only to allow Marseille to equalize at the death. Lille started strong, with Hazard's 25-yard shot in the 2nd minute forcing a save from L'OM GK Mandanda. They capitalized on some hesitant defending in the 11th minute when Rami got up for a header to give Lille the 1-0 lead. Samassa almost equalized immediately for Marseille, but his shot just skipped over the crossbar. In the 25th minute the club hit the bar again as Niang blasted a shot from 30 yards. Lille opened up a 2-0 lead in the 37th minute when Bastos capitalized on yet more defensive shenanigans. Debuchy swung in a well-taken free-kick, and Mandanda came out for the ball. Unfortunately for him, Zubar attempted to head the ball back to his keeper, resulting in the ball lobbing Mandanda for the easy finish for Bastos. Marseille began the climb back in the second half, scoring in the 47th minute when Samassa headed home a cross from Bonnart. Lille GK Malicki and Mandanda then traded saves on Cheyrou and Bastos, respectively. The match turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes, as Lille received 4 yellow cards (Mavuba, 80th minute; Malicki, 86th minute; Chedjou, 91st minute; and Cabaye, 91st minute). Unfortunately for Lille, the downhill spiral didn't stop there, and they watched a free-kick from Zenden in the 92nd minute sail through the wall and into the goal to salvage the point for Marseille.
So, after Matchday 15 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 33 points on a 10-3-2 record and a +11 goal differential; (2) Nice, with 28 points on an 8-4-3 record and a +6 goal differential; (3) Marseille, with 27 points on a 7-6-2 record and a +11 goal differential; and (4) Rennes, with 26 points on a 6-8-1 record and a +9 goal differential.