Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This weekend saw a lot of activity as several of the usual suspects (not Keyser Soze) continued their stellar scoring and red cards were handed out with aplomb. The result of the week goes to Paris Saint-Germain who destroyed Nantes 4-1 to move into a tie (on points) for 2nd place with Bordeaux.

Saturday, February 7th:

Le Havre 1-0 Rennes - Le Havre broke a streak of 7 straight losses and sent Rennes tumbling further down the table as the latter club are now winless in their last 3 matches. In the 5th minute Mbia had his shot saved by Le Havre GK Revault, but both keepers were busy in this match. In the 29th minute Noro had a wonderful free-kick saved by Rennes GK Douchez, and minutes later Sow forced another save from Revault. In the second half Thomert (just back from a 2-month recuperation for a fractured fibula) sent in a corner that almost went in directly, but Revault managed to tip it past the bar. Thomert had another opportunity in the 60th minute but Revault was up to the task again. In the 84th minute Alassane forced a brilliant save from Douchez, but the Havre striker managed to take the 3 points with a well-struck shot in the 91st minute.

Lorient 1-1 Monaco - Early in this match both clubs had chances to score, as Lorient GK Cappone stopped Pino and Gameiro missed an open goal after dribbling around Monaco GK Ruffier. In the 21st minute Pokrivac played Mollo through for an easy finish and Monaco dominated the remainder of the first half. The second half started in a similar manner as Licata forced another save from Cappone. Lorient struck back in the 60th minute when Vahirua sent through a well-weighted ball for an easy finish by Abriel. Vahirua then had a chance to beat his club ahead but was stopped by Ruffier. Monaco also had a chance to take the 3 points but Pokrivac hit the crossbar in the 80th minute. Freddy Adu watch: Not even on the bench. Seriously, Freddy - give it up.

Nancy 0-2 Auxerre - Auxerre completely dominated this match, holding Nancy to 4 shots (0 on goal) and easily taking the 3 points. In the 18th minute Oliech shot just wide of the goal from 35 yards out, and he would continue to threaten Nancy GK Bracigliano for the rest of the match, shooting just wide again in the 28th, 40th, and 77th minutes. The first goal came in the 36th minute when Pedretti sent in a cross that was headed home by Hengbart. The second half began equally well as Jelen slammed home a cross from Kahlenberg in the 52nd minute. The damage could have been much greater if not for the heroics of Bracigliano who made saves on Mignot (63rd minute), Grichting (64th minute), and Pedretti (64th minute) in quick succession. Zerka had the only opportunities for Nancy, shooting wide in the 70th and 90th minutes.

Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 Nantes - Although the PSG offense was potent, it was their defense which unsettled Nantes by catching them with the offsides trap 7 times in this match. In the 5th minute a well-take Rothen free-kick was saved by Nantes GK Alonzo, who was under siege the entire match. In the 8th minute Giuly hit the crossbar, and he scored just 4 minutes later off a cross from Luyindula. The latter got a goal of his own in the 21st minute, slamming home an easy finish from close range. In the 36th minute Armand took down Faty in the box and Abdoun put home the resulting PK to bring Nantes 1 goal back. PSG pressed again after the start of the second half, and Luyindula sent a through ball for the easy finish for Giuly for the brace. The destruction was complete in the 71st minute when Sessegnon sent home a long-range shot.

Saint-Etienne 3-2 Caen - Saint-Etienne got their 1st win in their last 5 matches through a flurry of activity within a 9-minute span in the second half. The match started very poorly for the club, as a shot punched clear by Saint-Etienne GK Janot in the 2nd minute bounced off his defender Dabo and back into his goal. Dabo made up for it in the 15th minute when he cleared off a shot off the line. Towards the end of the first half Caen ramped up the pressure, and twice Savidan forced Janot into good saves. In the 60th minute Saint-Etienne began to push back as Matuidi hit the post, and Caen were lucky to have Mirallas' follow-up cleared off the line. The equalizer came in the 63rd minute when Gomis stole a poor backpass and dribbled around Caen GK Plante.

In the 67th minute Ilan just got a foot onto a cross to turn it into the corner, and he had his brace in the 71st minute on an easy finish from a Gomis pass. Savidan managed to draw 1 goal back for Caen in the 90th minute with a header, but it was too little, too late.

Toulouse 2-0 Le Mans - Toulouse are unbeaten in 9 matches and their latest victory was at the expense of new Le Mans gaffer Daniel Jeandupeaux (as Yves Bertucci stepped down last week). Le Mans was under pressure early, and it actually fell to defender Andre to stop shots from Mathieu and Gignac in the first few minutes. In the 20th minute Mathieu sent in a cross that Gignac volleyed off the post, and it appeared to be only a matter of time. The goal came immediately before the half as Sissoko received a through ball to the outside and cut back inside for the clinical finish. After the restart Bennet shot just wide of the post, and Toulouse eventually got their second goal as Ligue 1-leading scorer Gignac struck in the 80th minute.

Lille 3-2 Sochaux - Lille had to come back from 2 goals down but they were aided by Sochaux falling to 10 men as Daf received a 2nd yellow card in the 50th minute for bad foul on Balmont. The match was chippy throughout, as Lille striker Hazard was fouled in the box in the 28th minute by Carlao with no call made. In the 31st minute Obraniak sent in a free-kick that was headed just wide by Fauvergue, and Sochaux struck 2 minutes later as Erdinq headed the ball to Pitau's feet for an easy finish. In the 41st minute Sverkos was fouled in the box by defender Beria after a mistake by his keeper. Sverkos took the PK himself to put Sochaux up 2-0. Lille began the climb back in the 59th minute when Frau turned a shot from Balmont just on the right side of the post. There were more handbags in the 64th minute as Cabaye was fouled by Boudebouz with no call, and Lille felt aggrieved to not have been awarded a PK. They made Sochaux pay in the 74th minute when GK Richert spilled a header from Frau directly at the feet of Vittek for the finish from a difficult angle.

The comeback was complete in the 88th minute when Hazard finished off a long ball sent in by Rami, and Lille took the 3 points.

Sunday, February 8th:

Grenoble 0-0 Valenciennes - In the snoozer of the weekend Valenciennes displayed pressure through recent transfer Darcheville. Grenoble's only opportunity came early in the match as Cesar forced a save from GK Penneteau. They still should have taken the 3 points as Feghouli had an excellent chance in injury time, but he put his shot wide.

Nice 1-3 Lyon - Nice has lost 4 of their last 7 matches so facing Lyon was not a good remedy for their problems. Lyon struck in the 18th minute when Makoun finished off a cross from Ederson (who used to play for Nice), and Benzema added to the lead in the 27th minute after a scooped pass from Ederson (where Juninho, who was offsides, wisely stood still).

Nice pulled 1 goal back in first-half injury time when Apam got his foot on a Saada corner and turned it into the goal. The second half got chippy as Sable was handed a red card for a vicious tackle on Ederson in the 57th minute, and the latter was brought down in the box by Nice GK Ospina in the 74th minute (but Benzema missed the PK for his brace). Makoun completed his brace in the 80th minute when Benzema headed him a pass for the easy finish. The misery was complete for Nice in the 85th minute when Adeilson was issued a straight red card for swinging an elbow at Boumsong.

Marseille 1-0 Bordeaux - In a match with big implications for the top of the table Marseille had the better pressure but needed a Bordeaux OG to take the 3 points. Early in the match Gourcuff hit a beautiful back-heel for Chamakh but the shot was put wide. Wiltord then began to exert pressure for L'OM, putting a header just over the crossbar. In the 46th minute Jussie had dribbled around Marseille GK Mandanda but was stopped by a last-ditch tackle from Taiwo. The only goal of the match came in the 57th minute when Ziani struck a free-kick that missed several players and bounced off the head of Chamakh and into his own goal. Bordeaux had chances to equalize but Gourcuff headed wide and Wendel hit the post. In the 75th minute Wiltord had a goal disallowed for a foul on Bordeaux GK Rame, but the 1-0 result held anyway. Bordeaux also had Diawara dismissed for a 2nd yellow card in the 86th minute after a tackle which resulted in a boot to Rodriguez' chest.

So, after matchday 23 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 46 points on a 13-7-3 record and a +15 goal differential; (2) Bordeaux, with 42 points on a 12-6-5 record and a +16 goal differential; (3) Paris Saint-Germain, with 42 points on a 13-3-7 record and a +9 goal differential; and (4) Marseille, with 41 points on an 11-8-4 record and a +13 goal differential.


phil said...

If Freddy Adu's interested, I happen to have it on good authority that the LA Galaxy may have an opening at midfield.

BTW, like the addition of vids.

The Fan's Attic said...

first vid: what a shot.

third vid: wasn't that guy offside when he received the ball?

fourth vid: think you could have legitimately called juninho offside as he was the intended recipient and affected the play.

Andrew said...

@TFA: maybe it was Juninho's feet together, shrug of the shoulders play that the ref found endearing and so allowed play to continue.

What happened to Adu? Is there a write-up somewhere on his ongoing struggles?

The NY Kid said...

@TFA - my interpretations of offsides:

3rd vid: I think he was offsides on the initial shot (although just barely), but the AR was more intent on trying to figure out if the ball stayed in during the scramble and didn't realize that the next offensive player to touch the ball was the same player

4th vid: You could definitely argue that the ball was meant for Juninho (who was clearly off), but he did the smart thing by not moving, and since he didn't impede any defenders, I think it was the right call

The NY Kid said...

@Andrew - I'm working on delving into the Adu mess, but there isn't much out there right now.

My feeling is that he arrived at Monaco with a bad attitude that has only gotten worse with his lack of playing time (even being ungrateful for the minutes he has gotten), but I definitely want to find out more

Andrew said...

@NYK: Is he superfluous to ASM's needs? A quick perusal of their wikipedia page shows a high number of attacking-mids.

I still don't understand why he was loaned out in the beginning. He seemed to be doing well with Benfica.

The Fan's Attic said...

several of us UFers were wondering about the bassinet on the PSG crest. NYK gave us the straight poop, so to speak. Here's what he had to say:

That, my friends, is the "berceau royale" (royal bassinette), which represents the fact that the town of St. Germain-en-Laye was a royal residence. When the two teams (FC Paris and St. Germain) merged, they used the Eiffel Tower to represent Paris and the "berceau" to represent St. Germain.

The NY Kid said...

so you're saying that I spelled "bassinet" wrong?

Ah, shite.

The Fan's Attic said...

you know, i spelled it about 3 different ways before finally just looking it up. i feel like your spelling should be right, but it doesn't appear so. a little basin sounds appropriate.