Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This weekend saw some scoring from the usual suspects, but some clubs at the top of the table slipped a bit in their bid to catch Ligue 1-leading Lyon. The result of the week goes to AS Saint-Etienne, who held Lyon to a 1-1 draw and moved out of the drop zone.

Saturday, January 31st:

Auxerre 0-0 Lorient - Niculae put the first shot of the match directly at Lorient GK Cappone, and the rest of the match provided relatively little excitement. A shot from Abriel brought out a save from Auxerre GK Sorin, and then Chafni shot straight at Cappone for the only other shot of the half. The second half started the same way, with Chafni saved by Cappone in the 60th minute. 4 minutes later it was back to Sorin to make the save on Gameiro, and the match ended with only 6 total shots on goal by both clubs combined.

Le Havre 2-3 Nancy - In a match that had a little bit of everything, Le Havre started and ended the match strong but it was Nancy who secured the 3 points at the death. Nancy opened the match early with Dia having his shot deflected onto the crossbar by a defender in the 2nd minute. Hadji then tried to lob Le Havre GK Revault but hit the crossbar as well. But it was Le Havre who broke through in the 12th minute when Ait ben Idir sent a well-weighted ball to Alassane for the clean finish. Nancy responded in the 16th minute when Feret volleyed home a shot off a pass from Dia. The latter was involved again in the 30th minute when he sent in a cross to be finished by Brison. In the next few minutes Hadji hit the post and shot wide twice, and Le Havre equalized in the 93rd minute when Alassane finished off a free-kick from Alla. N'Guemo became the hero just 1 minute later when he poked a ball home after a scramble in the goal-mouth and secured the 3 points for Nancy. Also of note, Nancy GK Bracigliano picked up a yellow card as he attempts to establish a record for GKs to get carded in a season.

Le Mans 0-2 Nantes - Despite a return from injury for Le Mans captain Thomas, it was Nantes who controlled the action on the pitch, sending in 9 corner kicks (to 0 for La Mans). Although there were numerous chances in the first half, it was not until the 53rd minute that Poulard sent home a cross from Capoue to open the scoring. The next goal came just 10 minutes later when Da Rocha sent in a low hard shot (and earned himself the "Goal-scorer to get carded" award in the 70th minute). Le Mans had 2 good chances to score, but Maiga (67th minute) and Lamah (89th minute) were both stopped by Nantes GK Alonzo.

Monaco 1-0 Grenoble - Monaco ended a 5-match winless streak with a win against a Grenoble club that has only 1 win since October despite the latter club dominating the first half. In the 8th minute Batlles took a 30-yard free-kick that was well-saved by Monaco GK Ruffier. In the 15th minute Batlles sent a pass by Ruffier, but Akrour failed to find the back of the net. Just 3 minutes later Toure hit the post, and he was denied again in the 33rd minute by Ruffier. The Monaco GK was busy again in the second half, saving a shot from Barcelona target Feghouli in the 60th minute. Monaco broke through in the 68th minute when Mollo played half-time substitute Licata through for the finish and the only goal of the match. Freddy Adu watch: On the bench, which is an improvement, but still no time on the pitch.

Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Caen - It was all-Hoarau, all the time as PSG dominated Caen to move up the table. In the 17th minute Hoarau played a pass through to Luyindula who shot over the crossbar. In the 30th minute Hoarau sent a header wide, and he was stopped by Caen GK Plante a few minutes later. Just after the restart Caen got their first shot on goal when Deroin was stopped by PSG GK Landreau. In the 49th minute the Caen defense failed to clear the ball and Clement sent in a shot which Plante was only able to push to Hoarau, who slotted home the easy finish. 10 minutes later Sessegnon sent a pass to Haorau whose shot was pushed by Plante to Luyindula, who volleyed home the rebound. Caen only managed 1 more shot, with Toudic stopped by Landreau in the 70th minute.

Valenciennes 1-0 Nice - Despite sub-zero temperatures Valenciennes proceeded with the match, as they are already 1 match behind due to a weather-related postponement. In the 6th minute a well-struck free-kick from Hellebuyck elicited an even better save from Valenciennes GK Penneteau. In the 11th minute Audel threatened the Nice goal, but put his header wide of the post. Just 5 minutes later Audel sent in another header which was saved by Nice GK Ospina. There was no more action until the second half, when Bamogo sent in a volley that was saved by Penneteau. In the 74th minute Pujol was stopped by Ospina, but in the 78th minute he bettered the Nice GK when he volleyed home a cross from Darcheville.

Rennes 0-0 Toulouse - Although they had 61% of the possession, Rennes only had 2 shots on goal (compared to 6 for Toulouse) and could only manage the draw. Both clubs have been challenging for the top of the table, but lost ground thanks to only taking 1 point from this match. Pagis was dangerous for Rennes early, forcing Toulouse GK Carrasso into a save early and then putting a shot wide. Ligue 1-leading scorer Gignac then forced a save from Rennes GK Douchez on either side of the half. Rennes had one last chance in the 60th minute, but Briand was stopped by Carrasso.

Sunday, February 1st:

Bordeaux 2-2 Lille - Bordeaux have been unbeaten since November but needed a late equalizer to take 1 point from this match. In the first 10 minutes of the match Cavenaghi missed wide and then shot straight at Lille GK Malicki. Bordeaux got the first goal just minutes later as Bellion stole the ball from defender Rami and sent in an easy finish in the 17th minute. Bordeaux should have been even further ahead, but Cavenaghi sent 2 more chances wide before the half. Lille equalized in the 49th minute when Obraniak volleyed home a poor clearance from the Bordeaux defense. In the 57th minute Rami made up for his gaffe by lashing home a 25-yard strike to give Lille the 2-1 lead. But in the 65th minute Gourcuff headed home a Wendel free-kick for the equalizer. Lille probably should have won the match, but Fauvergue hit Bordeaux GK Rame directly in the legs with his shot.

Sochaux 1-0 Marseille - Marseille, who had been unbeaten away from home, was dealt a blow to their title chase with a loss at lowly Sochaux. Despite being outshot 5-19, Sochaux had the only shot that mattered when Erdinq lobbed Marseille GK Mandanda in the 24th minute. Marseille exerted a great deal of pressure, holding 57% of the possession and winning 9 corner kicks, but were unable to equalize. Rodriguez hit the crossbar early in the second half, and was denied by Sochaux GK Richert in stoppage time as L'OM went home empty-handed.

Lyon 1-1 Saint-Etienne - Saint-Etienne, who have not beaten their geographic derby rivals since 1994, moved out of the relegation zone with a draw in this match, and Lyon regained 1st place. Each club had only 1 good chance in the first half, with Mirallas shooting over the bar in the 2nd minute and Benzama forcing a great save from Saint-Etienne GK Janot in the 44th minute. The start of the second half saw an intense 5-minute stretch of action. In the 49th minute Mirallas put Saint-Etienne ahead after the ball deflected off his teammate Payet and he slotted home the finish. Lyon equalized through a Juninho free-kick in the 53rd minute, and 1 minute later they were down to 10 men as Piquionne received his 2nd yellow card for a poor tackle on Dabo. Despite the 1-man advantage Saint-Etienne were unable to capitalize and the match ended in a draw.

So, after Matchday 22 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 43 points on a 12-7-3 record and a +13 goal differential; (2) Bordeaux, with 42 points on a 12-6-4 record and a +17 goal differential; (3) Paris Saint-Germain, with 39 points on a 12-3-7 record and a +6 goal differential; and (4) Marseille, with 38 points on a 10-8-4 record and a +12 goal differential.


jjf3 said...

Lyon never really went a man down. Once he had handed out the red, the ref promptly became Lyon's 11th man, refusing to possibly make a call that might lead to an OL loss...

The NY Kid said...

well, there are certain traditions to uphold. I mean, he had 7 years of pressure behind him.

jjf3 said...

I really hate that this crap with referees is pretty much accepted in the top levels of football. I think I might have just been born the last time ManU had a pen called against them at OT, Spanish refs are either incompetent, play favorites, or both, and today two different refs, in two different countries, were clearly affected by which crowd they were in front of (though in Riley's case, he's probably just plain old incompetent). What pitch you are on should not affect what call is made! (and yes, I understand this is partly human nature, but its like these guys aren't even trying to be impartial anymore...)

end rant