Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This weekend in Ligue 1 saw only 2 clubs fail to score, a multitude of red cards, and several contenders for the Goal-Scorer to Get Carded (GSTGC) award. The result of the week goes to Toulouse FC, who beat Sochaux-Montbeliard to vault into the 4th spot in the table.

Saturday, February 14th:

Auxerre 2-0 Lille - Auxerre took fewer shots, had less possession (43% - 57%) and were down to 10 men, yet they prevailed thanks to 2 early goals. Lille started better, with Bastos forcing a save from Auxerre GK Sorin in the 7th minute. The GK was called into action again in the 21st minute when he stopped a header from Cheyrou. Just 10 minutes later they were on the wrong side as a poor clearance resulted in the ball finding its way to Jelen, who still needed 2 shots to get past Lille GK Malicki. Bastos had 2 chances to equalize, being saved by Sorin in the 32nd minute and hitting the post in the 33rd minute. Then in the 35th minute Auxerre put away the match with some crisp passing through the midfield, ending with a goal from Chafni. Lille must have had some hope when Kahlenberg was given a straight RC in the 78th minute (and had his gaffer sent to the stands for arguing the card), but 10-man Auxerre did not let up the pressure and secured the 3 points.

Bordeaux 1-1 Grenoble - Bordeaux dominated the match but saw points (and their place in the top 4) slip away with a late Grenoble goal. Cavenaghi provided much of the pressure, hitting the crossbar early and forcing a save from Grenoble GK Wimbee in the 30th and 42nd minutes. The second half was much the same way, with Cavenaghi forcing another save from Wimbee in the 59th minute. This time the rebound came out to Chamakh who calmly finished to give Bordeaux the 1-0 lead. Auxerre struck back in the 76th minute when a poor clearance from Bordeaux GK Rame fell to Courtois. The latter hit the post with his shot, but Cesar slotted home the rebound. Grenoble had a chance to steal all 3 points, but Feghouli hit the crossbar in the 84th minute.

Caen 1-1 Lorient - Both clubs maintained their winless streaks by playing to a draw in a contentious match that saw 10 YCs given out (including 2 to Lorient's Genton). Caen scored on their first decent opportunity of the match with Savidan sending home a pass from Deroin in the 34th minute. Lorient struck back almost immediately after the restart when GK Audard sent a long ball to Morel, who sent in a cross that was headed home by Saifi. Audard then distinguished himself on his own end, making a fantastic double save on Eluchans to preserve the draw.

Le Mans 1-2 Nice - Le Mans once again failed to get their 1st win under new gaffer Daniel Jeandupeux as they allowed 2 late goals to Nice. Early in the match a pass from Andre to Le Tallec resulte in a shot from the latter that hit the post. Nice responded through ben Saada, who hit the crossbar in the 30th minute and forced a save from Le Mans GK Roche in the 44th minute. Le Mans struck first, getting a goal from a difficult angle from Helstad in the 52nd minute. Nice got the equalizer in the 76th minute from Fae, followed shortly by 2 dismissals for fighting in the 77th minute as Cerdan received his 2nd YC and Remy was given a straight RC. The match-winner came in exciting fashion in the 90th minute, as a cheeky backheel attempt was stopped by Roche only for Traore to slam home the rebound.

Rennes 1-1 Nancy - Throughout most of the match Nancy appeared to consist solely of Hadji on offense and Bracigliano manning the goal. In the 5th minute Hadji forced a save from Rennes GK Douchez, and a short while later Bracigliano stopped Briand. Just before the whistle Bracigliano was called upon again, stopping Pagis. The goal finally came in the 57th minute when Dia set up Hadji for the easy finish, earning Hadji the GSTGC award for the week. The latter should have had a brace in the 84th minute after stealing a pass, but he was denied by Douchez. Nancy immediately came to rue that miss as Hannson sent in a cross for Briand to finish, providing the equalizer.

Valenciennes 1-1 Nantes - In the 4th 1-1 draw of the day, Valenciennes managed to hang on to an early goal to remain unbeaten in their last 6 matches. In the 9th minute Neves was denied by Valenciennes GK Penneteau, and Nantes were on the back foot just 5 minutes later when Rafael volleyed home a shot off a corner kick. Nantes GK Alonzo was under pressure from that point on, stopping Tiene in the 30th minute and Saez in the 37th minute. The pressure shifted in the second half, and Nantes equalized in the 60th minute when Klasnic dribbled past 2 defenders and left Penneteau flat-footed. Alonzo preserved the draw in the 70th minute with a magnificent double-save on Audel and Puyol.

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Saint-Etienne - Saint-Etienne had 65% of the possession and committed 19 fouls, both of which were a result of playing from behind for most of the match. PSG struck in the 26th minute when a Camara header was cleared off the line only for Sakho to slam home the rebound. Saint-Etienne equalized almost immediately when Machado hit the crossbar and Payet finished the rebound. Unfortunately for Saint-Etienne, it took PSG only 3 minutes to regain the lead, as Giuly sent in a fantastic cross for Clement to head home in the 36th minute. Payet looked for his brace in the 55th minute but his shot was over the bar. PSG had 2 more chances to increase their lead, but Sessegnon shot over the bar in the 69th minute and Saint-Etienne GK Janot stopped Luyindula in the 89th minute.

Sunday, February 15th:

Lyon 3-1 Le Havre - Lyon took 18 shots (9 on goal) and had 61% of the possession in a truly dominant performance that solidified their place at the top of the table. In the 9th minute Benzema forced Le Havre GK Revault into an outstanding save, and in the 12th minute a parried Benzema shot came out to Grosso only for the latter to be stopped by Revault as well. In the 30th minute Makoun had a header cleared off the line, and then the nightmare began for Le Havre. In the 34th minute Ederson abused defender Franquart for an easy finish. In the 45th minute Franquart deflected an attempted cross directly to the feet of Keita who finished to give Lyon a 2-0 lead. Le Havre spent the rest of the match on their heels, forced into numerous fouls (which earned Mensah 2 YCs). Lyon quashed any notions of a comeback in the 74th minute when free-kick specialist Juninho sent in a 30-yard masterpiece for the 3-0 lead (2-minute mark on the video). Le Havre avoided the shutout with a Nestor header in the 82nd minute.

Sochaux 1-2 Toulouse - Toulouse needed a little help to take all 3 points, and Sochaux defender Faty was clearly the goat of the match. A free-kick from Mathieu early in the match forced a save from Sochaux GK Richert, and the latter's club responded in the 12th minute when Afolabi finished off a Maurice-Belay free-kick to the back post. Sochaux should have had a 2nd goal in the 19th minute but Sverkos' volley hit the crossbar. They did get another goal in the 34th minute, but it was an OG from Faty, as he tried to head the ball clear. The collapse was complete in the 67th minute when a cross from Capoue found Ligue 1-leading scorer Gignac, who dribbled past Faty and scored easily.

Monaco 0-1 Marseille - The club from the principality suffered their 6th home loss of the season as their drop down the table continued. Early in the match Cheyrou shot directly at Monaco GK Ruffier for an easy save. Pressure then came in the other direction, as Mollo went barely wide with a free-kick in the 15th minute, shot wide in the 20th minute, and had a free-kick saved by Marseille GK Mandanda in the 27th minute. In the 45th minute Mandanda made a stellar double-save on Adriano and Licata, with the latter also being stopped by the GK just after the restart. The breakthrough finally came in the 77th minute when Kone got onto the end of a deflected cross to give Marseille the 1-0 lead and the 3 points. Freddy Adu watch: Once again, not even on the bench.

So, after Matchday 24 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 49 points on a 14-7-3 record and a +17 goal differential; (2) Paris Saint-Germain, with 45 points on a 14-3-7 and a +10 goal differential; (3) Marseille, with 44 points on a 12-8-4 record and a +14 goal differential; and (4) Toulouse, with 44 points on a 12-8-4 record and a +11 goal differential.

1 comment:

jjf3 said...

Nice job, NYK. Keep showing up BD and umlaut75...(just kidding, guys!)

Very nice recap of the weekend...