Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

The big result of the weekend obviously goes to FC Nantes, who upset Ligue 1 leaders Lyon 2-1. Granted, Lyon were again missing Juninho and Benzema, and Nantes has already tied Marseille this season, but this was a truly shocking result for Claude Puel's side.

Friday, December 5th:

Bordeaux 2-1 Valenciennes - In a match played early due to the Champions League tie against Roma on Tuesday, Bordeaux got the warm-up they needed, committing only 14 fouls and maintaining 63% of the possession. Valenciennes started more quickly, with Pujol getting off shots in the 9th (shot wide) and 24th (saved by Bordeaux GK Valverde) minutes. But it was Bordeaux who struck first in the 35th minute when a Jurietti free-kick went to Wendell, who passed to Chamakh for the easy header. Valenciennes equalized in the 43rd minute when a pass from Audel allowed Pujol to split 2 defenders and score easily. In the 45th minute Cavenaghi was denied by Valenciennes GK Penneteau, but 2 minutes later Cavenaghi had his revenge, scoring the winning goal. Valenciennes had 2 final chances to equalize, with Schmitz heading a Belmadi free-kick onto the post, and Mater being saved by Valverde.

Saturday, December 6th:

Caen 1-1 Rennes - Rennes dominated the match, but had to rely on a late goal to steal 1 point. In the first 3 minutes, a shot from Leroy was saved by Caen GK Plante, and Bocanegra hit the bar, but the rest of the first half was listless on both sides. In first-half stoppage time, Barzola's cross found Nivet on the far post for an easy tap-in and 1-0 Caen lead. In the 50th minute Toudic should have doubled the score, as he was in 1-on-1, but Rennes GK Douchez made the save. Rennes finally broke through in the 77th minute when Sow (who was a 76th minute substitute) received an excellent pass from Briand for the clear finish.

Lille 1-1 Toulouse - It took until the very end of the match, but Lille remained unbeaten at home since opening day of the Ligue 1 season. Toulouse provided early, and consistent, pressure through Mathieu. Lille's first good chance of the match came in the 37th minute when Obraniak sent his header wide, and 3 minutes later Bastos hit the post and then forced Toulouse GK Carrasso into a nice save. Toulouse finally broke the deadlock in the 64th minute when Didot's free-kick fell nicely to Cetto, who promptly put the ball between Malicki's legs. Lille equalized the match in stoppage time, on literally their last possible possession, when Bastos rocketed in a free-kick that beat the wall and Carrasso. Bastos was also immediately booked for taking off his jersey in celebration, but that's not an acceptable way to earn the weekly award.

Marseille 2-1 Nice - The 2 clubs began the day equal on points, with Nice ahead on goal differential, but Marseille retook 2nd place in Ligue 1 with the win. They started the pressure early, with a shot from Zenden being tipped onto the bar by Nice GK Ospina in the 3rd minute. They struck early as well, with Ziani slotting home a free-kick in the 14th minute (although there was a hint that it may have been an OG from Echouafni). In the 32nd minute Zenden forced Ospina into another save, and the pressure paid off again in stoppage time of the first-half when Rool pulled on Valbuena's shirt and Niang slotted home the resulting PK. Nice got 1 goal back at the start of the second-half, with Diakite directing a Hellebuyck free-kick to Bamogo, who slotted home his shot despite half of the Marseille defense standing around him. The remainder of the match was the Niang show, as he hit the post and was then forced off with an injury. Nice had 2 final chances, as Mouloungui was stopped by Mandanda in the 75th minute and Saada hit the crossbar in stoppage time.

Saint-Etienne 2-0 Havre - In a match featuring 2 clubs moving in opposite directions, Saint-Etienne demonstrated their improved play by committing only 8 fouls and holding 75% of the possession. Le Havre got the first shot on goal in the 5th minute, but Police was easily saved by Saint-Etienne GK Janot. After that it was Havre GK Revault who was kept busy, making wonderful saves on Matsui in the 17th minute and Gomis in the 36th minute. The first goal of the match came in the 75th minute when a Mirallas cross was volleyed into the net by Poyet. Revault made another save on Gomis in the 76th minute, but in the 80th minute Gomis received a brilliant pass from Mirallas for the second goal. For those scoring at home, Mirallas came on as a substitute in the 73rd minute and promptly had 2 assists in the next 7 minutes. That's an effective decision from the gaffer.

Nantes 2-1 Lyon - In the match of the week, the minnows kept the Ligue 1 leaders busy despite only holding 41% of the possession. Lyon started quickly, with Piquionne forcing 2 saves from Nantes GK Alonzo in the first 5 minutes. He then broke through in the 43rd minute when a free-kick from Kallstrom was spilled by Alonzo directly to Piquionne's feet, who scored the easy goal (and was awarded a yellow card in the 55th minute for this week's "Goal-scorer to get carded" award). Nantes made a tactical substitution, bringin on Klasnic in the 59th minute, which immediately paid dividends in the 60th minute when Capoue stole the ball from Toulalan and shot on goal. Lyon GK Lloris made the save, but was only able to parry the ball as far as Klasnic, who put in the easy finish. Lyon's nightmare was complete in the 89th minute when Gassama pulled down Bagoyoko in the box and Klasnic took the PK to finish his brace.

Sunday, December 7th:

Grenoble 0-0 Auxerre - As one would expect, the only nil-nil result of the weekend was a fairly boring match. The first good chance of the match came in the 13th minute when a Chafni free-kick was saved by Grenoble GK Wimbee. The only other chance of the first-half came in the 26h minute when Courtois stole the ball from Grichting and fed the pass to Moreira, who put his shot over the crossbar. In the 70th minute Hengbart sent in a cross which turned into a shot, and Wimbee was forced to make his second save of the match. Each club had one last chance, with a shot from Moreira saved by Auxerre GK Riou in the 74th minute, and Coulibaly putting a header off the post in the 89th minute for Grenoble.

Lorient 1-0 Nancy - Amalfitano and Gameiro provided all of the pressure that Lorient needed to secure the 3 points. Both hit the post in the first 10 minutes of the match, and Amalfitano also forced Nancy GK Gregorini to tip his shot over the crossbar. Nancy had only 1 shot in the first-half, but Chretien's effort was easily stopped by Lorient GK Audard. The goal finally came in the 83rd minute when a cross from Abriel was volleyed home by Gameiro. In stoppage time Abriel was unable to double the lead as he shot wide, and Hadji could not rescue 1 point when Audard came up with another save.

Monaco 1-1 Sochaux - Monaco outplayed Sochaux throughout most of the match, but it was the latter club who had more shots on goal and they were able to hold on for 1 point. Sochaux scored early when Dalmat sent in a cross in the 9th minute and Santos took advantage of a defensive mistake to slot the ball home. Within the next 10 minutes, Park had 2 chances to equalize and on his first opportunity he was stopped by Sochaux GK Richert. Park's second effort was blocked by a defender, but it deflected directly to Alonso who had an easy finish. In the 47th minute Sochaux should have taken the lead through Pitau, but Monaco GK Thuram made an outstanding save. Thuram made another great save on a Boudebouz free-kick just 3 minutes later, and Richert responded on the other end with a nice save on a Pokrivac free-kick. In stoppage time Pitau thought he had an easy path to the 3 points after dribbling 3 defenders, but Thuram managed a terrific 1-on-1 save to tip the ball around the post. Freddy Adu watch: 80th minute substitute, and he looked only semi-lost on the pitch this week.

Paris Saint-Germain - Le Mans - On a cold day in the capital, Paris Saint-Germain took the 3 points to move into 5th place in Ligue 1. PSG almost scored in the 3rd minute when Giuly played Rothen through, but the shot was directly at Le Mans GK Pele. The goal came in the 23rd minute when Sessegnon made a brilliant run and then fed Hoarau for the easy finish. Le Mans equalized in the 30th minute when Cerdan volleyed home Coutadeur's free-kick. But Hoarau struck again in the 39th minute after a well-weighted pass from Giuly. Le Mans provided a little more pressure in the second-half, with Dossevi forcing PSG GK Landreau into a save and Maiga sending his shot just over the crossbar. Luyindula made sure of the 3 points in the 88th minute when he took the pass from Sessegnon for an easy finish.

So after Matchday 17, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 34 points on a 10-4-3 record and a +10 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 31 points on an 8-7-2 record and a +12 goal differential; (3) Rennes, with 30 points on a 7-9-1 record and a +10 goal differential; and (4) Bordeaux, with 29 points on an 8-5-4 record and a +9 goal differential.

1 comment:

The Fan's Attic said...

Oh Freddy, Freddy, Freddy,
Why can't you kick a ball
To save your life in footy
You make me sad, sad, sad.