This week saw goals galore, along with numerous cards, as well as the potential for a shake-up in the top 4. The result of the week goes to Olympique de Marseille, who beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 to leapfrog the club from the capital and move into 2nd place, only 1 point behind Lyon.
Saturday, March 14th:
Caen 0-1 Lille - Caen have 0 Ligue 1 wins since late November, and they never looked like breaking that streak in this match. Toudic sent a volley wide and ben Khalfallah was stopped by Lille GK Malicki, and Caen did not have another good opportunity until the end of the match. Bastos began to exert pressure for Lille, twice forcing a save from Caen GK Plante just before the half. Just after the restart Cabaye should have opened the scoring with his lob of Plante, but the Caen GK did well to keep it out. Bastos finally got his goal in the 60th minute on a counter-attack and Lille settled into a defensive formation. This almost cost them the points in the 82nd minute, but Savidan was well-stopped by Malicki to preserve the 3 points.
Le Mans 2-2 Rennes - Le Mans are unbeaten in their last 5 matches but should have taken all 3 points from this tilt despite being outshot and out-possessed by Rennes. Le Mans struck in the 2nd minute with a Lamah header pushed out by Rennes GK Douchez, only to give Helstad an easy tap-in for the finish. Gervinho then made the score 2-0 in the 19th minute after a great individual run. Rennes thought they had pulled 1 back in the 34th minute, but Thomert had his shot cleared off the line by defender Geder. They were also unable to break through just before the half when Le Mans GK Pele did well to stop a volley from Danze. After the restart Rennes was again foiled when Leroy had his lob cleared off the line by defender Cerdan, but they finally struck back in the 75th minute on a great solo effort from Ekoko. The comeback was complete in the 92nd minute when Pele came out to clear a Leroy cross and missed the ball, leaving an empty net for Sow to finish and share the points.
Monaco 3-2 Toulouse - This match featured 11 shots on goal and 39 saves coupled with some late scoring to make things exciting. Toulouse opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Congre mis-hit a Didot corner and Gignac cleaned up the mess for his 16th Ligue 1 goal. They should have scored again in the 30th minute, but Braaten hit the bar. Instead it was Monaco who scored next when Nimani finished off a Mollo free-kick in the 40th minute. In the 50th minute Didot sent a free-kick just wide, but his effort in the 68th minute was sent in by Cetto for a 2-1 lead. Modesto then equalized for Monaco with a stunning bicycle kick off a Nimani cross in the 75th minute. The 3 points were sealed in the 89th minute when a Mollo free-kick was pushed out by Toulouse GK Carrasso to Lolo for an easy finish. Freddy Adu watch: HE WAS ON THE BENCH! DNP - CD.
Nantes 1-1 Lorient - In a relatively dull match the clubs only managed a draw to share the points. The first goal came in the 25th minute when N'Daw chipped his shot over Lorient GK Audard off a cross from Bagayoko. N'Daw almost had an assist a few minutes, but Bekamenga headed his shot wide. Lorient had their first opportunity in the 40th minute, but Vahirua was stopped by Nantes GK Alonzo. Just 1 minute later N'Daw thought he had a brace, but his free-kick slammed into the post. Lorient should have equalized in the 69th minute when Poullard fouled Morel in the box, but Alonzo made a great save on the resulting PK taken by Abriel. They did equalize in the 78th minute when Morel hit a scorching shot from 20 yards.
Sochaux 2-1 Nancy - This match started quickly as Sochaux GK Richert did well to come out and deny a good cross from Helder in the 4th minute. His teammates responded by providing him with a lead to protect in the 13th minute when Erdinq flicked a cross from Mikari on to Boudebouz for the finish. But Richert was helpless in the 42nd minute when his defender Faty made a poor clearance only as far as Hadji, who rocketed home his shot with a deflection off Faty (so, not a good 10 second sequence for the defender). Sochaux had an opportunity to take the lead in the 76th minute when Luiz fouled Sverkos in the box, but Nancy GK Bracigliano stopped the PK taken by Erdinq. The latter made up for his miss in the 79th minute when he provided a cross for Sverkos to finish, and should have had a goal of his own in the waning minutes but hit the crossbar.
Valenciennes 3-2 Le Havre - Valenciennes are unbeaten in their last 11 matches but struggled in this one despite holding 65% of the possession. They were pressured early on shots from Lesage and Noro, which Valenciennes GK Penneteau did well to stop. Le Havre got the first goal in the 23rd minute when Penneteau pushed out a free-kick Alla, but only as far as Franquart for an easy header. Valenciennes equalized in the 41st minute when Saez drilled home a shot from the edge of the box. Lacourt almost provided the lead in the 47th minute but he was stopped by Le Havre GK Revault. In the 66th minute Anin beat Penneateau but his shot went just wide right. Valenciennes took the lead in the 75th minute with an excellent free-kick from Lacourt, but Le Havre equalized again when Anin sent home a pass from Diallo in the 81st minute. Audel stole the 3 points at the death when he finished off a headed pass from Pujol.
Bordeaux 2-1 Nice - Bordeaux had only 1 win in 6 matches coming into this match, but they got the victory to move back into contention. In the 10th minute a fantastic volley from Gourcuff was well-saved by Nice GK Ospina. Remy responded in the 12th minute, but his shot was cleared off the line by Bordeaux defender Diawara. Chamakh broke through in the 18th minute with a shot from close range to give Bordeaux the lead, but in the 24th minute Bordeaux GK Rame took down Fae in the box and Bamogo converted the resulting PK. Bordeaux regained the lead almost immediately after the restart when Henrique directed home a cross from Wendel. Rame made difficult saves on Remy and ben Saada late in the match to preserve the 3 points.
Sunday, March 15th:
Grenoble 1-0 St. Etienne - In a match that saw only 1 shot on goal from each club, it was that 1 shot (taken at the death) that sealed 3 points for Grenoble. In the 15th minute Cesar almost put Grenoble ahead, but his header came back off the crossbar. In the 30th minute St. Etienne thought they had taken the lead, but Mirallas was adjudged to have fouled Grenoble GK Wimbee in scoring his goal. Grenoble then thought that they had taken the lead in the 50th minute when Batlles scored, but he was ruled offside. St. Etienne went down to 10 men in the 82nd minute when Tavlaridis received his second YC for a foul on Akrour, and the latter increased the pain in the 93rd minute when he volleyed home the winner.
Lyon 0-2 Auxerre - Lyon had 7 shots on goal and 62% of the possession, but they simply could not get anything past Auxerre GK Sorin. After losing to Lille in Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France, and crashing out of the Champions League in embarassing fashion to Barcelona, Lyon looked to turn around their luck in the match. Juninho was in great form early on, sending a free-kick just wide and having another barely headed over by Makoun. In the 40th minute Benzema tried his luck, but was stopped by Sorin. Auxerre then struck in the 42nd minute when a poor clearance from Boumsong fell gently to Jelen for an easy finish. Just after the restart Juninho took yet another well-struck free-kick, but Delgado's header was again saved by Sorin. In the 56th minute Sorin stopped a wonderful volley from Ederson, and then made an excellent double-save on Grosso a few minutes later. Yet another save from Sorin came on a 25-yard missile from Juninho. In the 90th minute Lyon GK Lloris took down Lejeune in the box, but he managed to stop the resulting PK taken by Hengbart. In the 93rd minute Kahlenberg put the match out of reach when he collected the ball at the 40-yard line and lobbed Lloris for the 2-0 win.
Paris Saint-Germain 1-3 Marseille - Paris Saint-Germain missed their chance to go top of the table, and actually fell to 3rd behind Marseille after this match. L'OM began early, with Cana, Cheyrou and Valbuena all shooting just wide. Zenden finally broke through in the 24th minute when he latched onto a clever backheel from Brandao for the finish. PSG fought back, with Hoarau and Giuly missing chances. The latter equalized, however, in the 43rd minute when a pass from Luyindula split the defense. But PSG found themselves down to 10 men in the 53rd when Camara received a straight RC for taking down Zenden as the last man. Zenden's resulting free-kick was parried by PSG GK Landreau, but it went only as far as Kone and bounced off the latter back into the goal. Cana put the match well out of reach in the 61st minute with a finish from 18 yards.
So, after Matchday 28, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 53 points on a 15-8-5 record and a +15 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 52 points on a 14-10-4 record and a +17 goal differential; (3) Paris Saint-Germain, with 52 points on a 16-4-8 record and a +12 goal differential; and (4) Bordeaux, with 50 points on a 14-8-6 record and a +15 goal differential.