Monday, March 2, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This week saw reduced goal-scoring (and fewer yellow cards, leading to the "Goal-scorer to get carded" award being handed out by default) except in 1 match. And it is the winning club in that match, Paris Saint-Germain, who get the result of the week as they destroyed Nancy 4-1 to move into 2nd place and within 4 points of Ligue 1 leaders Lyon.

Saturday, February 28th:

Le Mans 2-0 Le Havre - An early corner from Helstad troubled Le Havre GK Revault, but after that the first half was dominated by Le Havre. Dieuze forced a good save from Le Mans GK Pele, followed by Lesage being stopped by Pele as well. The second half was a different story, as Mathieu called Revault into action in the 62nd minute. Just 1 minute later a cross was diverted directly to Maiga, who finished cooly for a 1-0 lead. Le Havre should have equalized in the 65th minute, but Pele stopped Alassane 1-on-1. Gervinho sealed the 3 points in the 77th minute when he sent home a cross from Corchia.

Nantes 1-1 Grenoble - Grenoble dominated the possession (61% to 39%) but needed a goal at the death to manage the draw. In the 1st minute Babovic was stopped by Grenoble GK Wimbee, and his counterpart, Nantes GK Alonzo, stopped a header from Boya just minutes later. Grenoble thought they had taken the lead in the 30th minute, but Grandin's free-kick wound up in the side netting. Nantes then struck in the 39th minute when Wimbee was only able to parry a shot from N'Daw as far as Klasnic, who finished easily. In the second half Alonzo was called upon to make successive saves against Batlles and Courtois. Unfortunately for the keeper, he was let down by his defense in the 94th minute with a poor clearance of a corner which was headed back in by Batlles for Paillot to finish.

Sochaux 1-0 Nice - In the 4th minute Nice GK Ospina stopped Isabey, and that would be the first of many shots that he faced. He was called into action again for saves on Sverkos (25th minute) and Erdinq (26th minute), but was up to the task. Sochaux almost scored at the half when Sverkos volleyed home a corner, but his shot was cleared off the line by defender Onyekachi. Nice had their best chance of the match in the 64th, but Sable put his shot over the bar when he was alone in the box. Sochaux finally got their goal in the 69th minute when Sverkos finished off a cross from Erdinq for his 4th goal in 7 matches since joining the club in the January transfer window. Nice had 1 final chance in the 76th minute, but Remy had his header saved by Sochaux GK Dreyer.

Valenciennes 2-0 Lille - Valenciennes emerged from this derby match undefeated in their last 8, allowing them to move up out of the relegation zone. In the 10th minute Danic hit the crossbar for Valenciennes, while Bastos sent a free-kick just wide on the other end of the pitch just 2 minutes later. In the 25th minute Darcheville had his header well-saved by Lille GK Malicki, but Valenciennes broke through in the 30th minute when Mater sent in a nice ball for Danic to finish. Mater provided the assist for the 2nd goal as well, crossing the ball for Darcheville to finish in the 35th minute. Fauvergue provided late pressure for Lille, forcing a save from Valenciennes GK Penneteau in the 46th minute and hitting the crossbar near the end of the match, but they were unable to break through.

Auxerre 1-1 Toulouse - Toulouse leapt into 2nd place on the strength of this draw, but they would rue only taking 1 point as the results from Sunday saw them go down to 5th in the table. Gignac, the profilic Toulouse striker, had several early chances but was unable to break through. Auxerre got their goal in the 26th minute when Oliech sent a pass through for Jelen, who beat the offside trap. The rest of the first half saw almost no offensive opportunities, but the second half started with Fofana sending a header smashing into the crossbar. The 72nd minute saw a mad scramble in the box as Mansare was saved by Auxerre GK Sorin and the rebound came directly to Gignac, who in turn had his shot cleared off the line by defender Hengbart. However, the ball was only cleared as far as Gignac, whose second shot was tipped by Sorin and eventually headed off the line by midfielder Chafni (starts around 6:30 in the video). Toulouse got their equalizer in the 80th minute, as Bergougnoux sent home a vicious volley from a Bonnet cross.

Sunday, March 1st:

Bordeaux 1-0 Lorient - Bordeaux had to survive some early pressure to get their 1st win in 5 matches, as Vahirua and Saifi both hit the post for Lorient in the first 20 minutes. Bordeaux began to push back in the 35th minute when Gourcuff saw his free-kick saved by Lorient GK Audard. Just after the restart Cavenaghi had a volley stopped by Audard, but he turned provider in the 49th minute for Chamakh to put Bordeaux ahead 1-0. The damage could have been worse, but Audard made nice saves on Tremoulinas and Cavenaghi late in the match.

Caen 0-1 Marseille - Marseille dominated this match but could only manage 1 goal, although that was enough for the 3 points. In the 15th minute Cheyrou hit the bar, and Caen GK Plante was under siege for the rest of the match. Plante was well-positioned to stop Wiltord in the 30th minute, but he needed to be saved by a clearance off the line from midfielder Leca in the 36th minute after a Wiltord header. Caen didn't get their first chance until the 55th minute, when a vicious volley from Savidan was brilliantly saved by Marseille GK Mandanda. The goal came in the 67th minute when January transfer Brandao finished off a well-weighted pass from Ziani. He should have had a brace, but was stopped by Plante in the 81st minute.

Monaco 2-2 Saint-Etienne - Saint-Etienne fell to 19th in the table with the draw and are in a dire situation. The club looked good early, as their GK Janot did well to stop Adriano and they pressured through Ilan and Gomis. But Monaco broke through in the 20th minute when Park sent in a through-ball for an easy finish from Nimani. Saint-Etienne struck back just 5 minutes later when Payet sent home a pass from Ilan, and the rest of the first half was relatively listless. Saint-Etienne took the lead in the 61st minute when Matsui stole a poor clearance from Adriano for the finish (earning himself the GSTGC award for the week, although he was the only candidate). They wound up completely deflated when Mollo and Park displayed some excellent passing for Mollo to score the equalizer in the 92nd minute. Freddy Adu watch: Who is Freddy Adu?

Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 Nancy - The club from the capital put on an impressive display, destroying relegation-threatened Nancy. PSG struck in the 11th minute when Hoarau headed home a Rothen free-kick, and again in the 14th minute when Sessegnon dribbled much of the defense and set up Giuly for an easy finish. Nancy pulled a goal back in the 30th minute against the run of play as Feret beat PSG GK Landreau to a cross and lobbed him for the finish. But PSG struck again just before the half as Hoarau was left unmarked on a free-kick for a simple strike. Nancy should have had a 2nd goal in the 48th minute after a poor clearance from Sakho, but N'Guemo hit the crossbar. PSG put things completely out of reach in the 63rd minute when Makelele sent through a nice pass for Sessegnon to finish after some 1-touch passing with Hoarau. The damage could have been even more extensive, as Rothen hit the post and Sessegnon had his bicycle kick attempt saved by Nancy GK Bracigliano.

Lyon 1-1 Rennes - Having seen all of their rivals for the title win earlier in the day, Lyon failed to keep pace by allowing an equalizer at the death. Rennes actually scored first when Bocanegra headed home a goal, but it was disallowed for a foul. They kept up the pressure with a volley from Danze, but it was straight at Lyon GK Lloris. Keita then poured forward for Lyon, but his shot was over the bar. The second half started with an enormous amount of energy from Rennes, particularly in the form of Briand who had his shot cleared off the line by defender Mensah in the 49th minute. Ederson responded for Lyon, but put his shot over the bar in the 55th minute, and Hansson matched that for Rennes a few minutes later. In the 62nd minute Briand forced a save from Lloris, and Lyon finally broke through in the 66th minute when Benzema sent a through ball to Pjanic who fed Kallstrom for the finish. Briand had a chance to equalize soon after as he was 1-on-1 with Lloris, but the GK was up to the task. The striker got his revenge, and the equalizer, in injury time as he collected a ball flicked on by Pagis and lobbed Lloris. Note: Benzema came off on a stretcher, but so far it only appears to be a hip pointer.

So, after Matchday 26, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 53 points on a 15-8-3 record and a +19 goal differential; (2) Paris Saint-Germain, with 49 points on a 15-4-7 record and a +13 goal differential; (3) Marseille, with 48 points on a 13-9-4 record and a +15 goal differential; and (4) Bordeaux, with 47 points on a 13-8-5 record and a +17 goal differential.


Precious Roy said...

Methinks if you want to get destroyed less you should probably change your name from "Nancy."

phil said...

What is Adu accomplishing at this point by remaining in France? I just don't get it.

Also, on an unrelated note, f*ck ManU in the pants. And their fans. You only sing when you're winning.


The NY Kid said...

Well, it was either that or Sally FC.

The NY Kid said...

@phil - Freddy is learning how to look confused and hurt while sitting in the stands in street clothes.

phil said...

That'll be good practice for USMNT, then.