Monday, March 9, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This week saw yet more yellow cards, as the Ligue 1 clubs appear to be getting a little chippy towards the end of the season. We also had 2 nil-nil draws, 1 of which had a significant impact on the title race. However, the result of the week goes to Toulouse, who put together an impressive 3-0 victory over Bordeaux to switch places with the latter in the table and move into 4th.

Saturday, March 7th:

Grenoble 2-1 Caen - Caen are winless in their last 12 matches, but they made this one interesting at the end. The shenanigans started early, as Caen midfielder Leca was given a straight RC in the 10th minute when he pulled on the shirt of Boya when the latter was going in 1-on-1 on goal. Just seconds later Grenoble almost made them pay, but Courtois put his free-kick over the crossbar. He made up for the miss in the 31st minute as his cross found Paillot for the easy finish and a 1-0 lead. Shortly after Caen's woes continued as gaffer Franck Dumas was sent to the stands for arguing with an official. Grenoble continued the pressure in the second half, with Cesar heading just over the bar in the 63rd minute, but Caen almost equalized in the 65th minute when Toudic was stopped by Grenoble GK Wimbee. The 10-man squad did equalize in the 85th minute when Yatabar sent in a cross for Deroin to finish, and they sunk into 9 men behind the ball for the remainder. Unfortunately for them, Grenoble made the extra man count and stole the 3 points at the death with a header from Toure off a Batlles corner in the 94th minute.

Lorient 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain - Paris Saint-Germain got an important 3 points to move within 1 of Ligue 1-leaders Lyon, but it was Lorient who started the match more quickly. In the 9th minute Vahirua hit the post, and then in the 15th minute Gameiro forced a save from PSG GK Landreau. The club from the capital broke through in the 22nd minute as a Ceara free-kick came in to Hoarau, who headed it for an outstanding volley from Giuly. Hoarau almost had one of his own in the 24th minute but was stopped by Lorient GK Audard. Lorient almost equalized in the 33rd minute when Landreau pushed a shot from Jouffre out to a waiting Amalfitano, who passed to Vahirua. Unfortunately for Lorient, the latter's shot was cleared off the line by Traore. They should have equalized in the 81st minute when Traore was adjudged to have committed a handball in the box, but Saifi put the resulting PK straight at Landreau.

Marseille 0-0 Valenciennes - Despite a dominant effort from Marseille, the southern club was unable to take the 3 points from a struggling Valenciennes. In the 7th minute ben Arfa was stopped by Valenciennes GK Penneteau, and just 5 minutes later Marseille GK Mandanda was called upon at the other end of the pitch on a fierce shot from Darcheville. Towards the end of the first half Mandanda made a brilliant save on a volley from Schiritz, and on the other side of halftime Darcheville missed just wide. Marseille increased their temp, and Penneteau was forced to stop Brandao and Zenden in quick succession to preserve the tie.

Nancy 2-2 Le Mans - Nancy got off to a cracking start when Hadji sent home a pass from Feret despite a difficult angle in the 2nd minute. He could have had a brace in the 4th minute but was stopped by Le Mans GK Pele, who also saved against Biancalani in the 10th minute. Le Mans equalized in the 20th minute when Coutadeur sent home a pass from Helstad. The second half saw increased opportunities for both clubs, as N'Guemo was just wide for Nancy in the 51st minute, and Nancy went ahead 2 minutes later on a goal from Luiz. The lead did not last long, as Le Mans equalized again in the 61st minute as Corchia played Helstad through for the finish. Nancy had one final chance as Corchia was whistled for a hand-ball, but Pele saved the resulting Gavanon free-kick.

Nice 0-0 Monaco - Nice took 25 shots (7 of them on goal) but only came away with 1 point for their efforts. In the 3rd minute Bamogo was stopped by Monaco GK Ruffier, and 2 minutes later Monaco should have been ahead but Park sent his shot against the post. In the 20th minute Mollo put his free-kick off the bar, and Lolo followed suit in the 28th minute as Monaco could not make their chances pay. Nice did not have another opportunity until the 76th minute when Leko was stopped by Ruffier, and the match ended in a draw. Freddy Adu watch: Not even on the bench. Perhaps he was tired from sitting on the bench in the mid-week Coupe de France match?

Toulouse 3-0 Bordeaux - Although Bordeaux had 65% of the possession, Toulouse had 7 shots on goal and made their chances pay off as they bossed Bordeaux all over the pitch. In the 23rd minute a Mathieu free-kick was well-saved by Bordeaux GK Rame, who was kept busy all match. The first goal came in the 32nd minute when Didot set up Sirieix for an easy finish. In the 39th minute Gignac was well-stopped by Rame, but the Ligue 1-leading scorer would have his revenge in the 44th minute when he finished a Mathieu free-kick. Just on the other side of half-time Gignac could have had a brace but he was again stopped by Rame. Bordeaux begin to pick up their pace and Chamakh headed a Gourcuff free-kick just wide in the 50th minute. Gourcuff then played Cavenaghi through, but he was stopped by Toulouse GK Carrasso (and Cavenaghi was later taken off the pitch with a knee injury). Toulouse finished off the misery for Bordeaux with a goal in the 93rd minute as Gignac played Sissoko through for the finish.

Lille 2-0 Lyon - Lyon had defenders Clerc and Bodmer return from lengthy injuries and were dominant in the first half but saw their lead at the top of the table cut to 1 point after this loss. In the 20th minute Keita sent a shot just wide, and 5 minutes later a Juninho free-kick was headed wide by Makoun. Lille defender Plestan made last-minute tackles on Benzema and Keita in quick succession to maintain the draw into half-time. Lille came out in the second half determined to take the points, and Cabaye hit the bar in the 50th minute, while Bastos blew his 1-on-1 opportunity in the 52nd minute when he overran the ball. The breakthrough came in the 60th minute when Vittek headed home a Bastos cross for the first goal. Lyon should have equalized but Tafer (a half-time substitute for Benzema, who left with hip difficulties) mis-kicked. Lille GK Malicki then stopped shots from Keita and Ederson, and the match was put out of reach in the 88th minute when Bastos chipped Lyon GK Vercoutre (who started in place of the beleaguered Lloris). The Ligue-1 record crowd of 78,056 was stunned by the result.

Sunday, March 8th:

Le Havre 2-1 Sochaux - Le Havre had lost 10 of their last 11 matches, but overcame an early goal from cellar-dwelling Sochaux. In the 12th minute Faty sent home a Boudebouz free-kick to open the scoring and take home this week's GSTGC award. Le Havre struck back in the 16th minute when Alla played Alassane through for an easy finish. Alassane should have had a brace in the 18th minute but was stopped by Sochaux GK Richert. Le Havre took the lead in the 54th minute when Sochaux lost possession at the top of the box and Anin capitalized on the opportunity. Sochaux found themselves even further adrift in the 76th minute when Maurice-Belay picked up his 2nd YC for a hard foul on Baca, and they were unable to find an equalizer.

Rennes 2-0 Auxerre - Rennes picked up their 3rd win in 4 matches to continue their climb back up the table. The first goal came from an unexpected source as Bocanegra headed home a Pagis cross in the 9th minute. Auxerre should have equalized in the 20th minute, but Jelen sent a pass from Kahlenberg just wide. Rennes got their second goal in the 37th minute when Pagis volleyed a pass from Danz to Briand for an easy finish. Auxerre had 2 chances to get back into the match, but Kahlenberg was stopped by Rennes GK Douchez in the 60th minute and then had his volley blocked by defender Hansson in the 80th minute.

St. Etienne 2-1 Nantes - Nantes had Bagayoko return from a 6-game suspension (for pushing an official) and in the 6th minute he provided a well-taken free-kick that was headed home by Klasnic. However, Saint-Etienne got on the board in the 12th minute when Moullec was adjudged to have committed a hand-ball in the area and Ilan finished the resulting PK. They took the lead in the 31st minute when Varrault made a good run down the channel and laid off the ball for Ilan to complete his brace. The remainder of the game devolved into handbags, as 7 total YCs were handed out.

So after Matchday 27, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 53 points on a 15-8-4 record and a +17 goal differential; (2) Paris Saint-Germain, with 52 points on a 16-4-7 record and a +14 goal differential; (3) Marseille, with 49 points on a 13-10-4 record and a +15 goal differential; and (4) Toulouse, with 49 points on a 13-10-4 record and a +14 goal differential.

1 comment:

The Big Football said...

Seems as one hard season for Lyon, hope someone breaks their spell.