Monday, March 23, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This week saw numerous clubs keep a clean sheet, quite a few cards, and the awarding of the GSTGC award by default yet again. The result of the week goes to Toulouse, who demolished Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 to vault back into 4th place and push PSG down to 6th on goal differential.

Saturday, March 21st:

Auxerre 2-0 Le Mans - Auxerre opened the scoring in the 8th minute when Jelen took a pass from Pedretti and lobbed Le Mans GK Pele. In the 11th minute Andre hit the bar for Le Mans, barely missing the equalizer. The second goal came soon after, when defender Camara lost possession to Dudke, who finished cooly in the 20th minute. Camara was again dispossessed in the 33rd minute, this time by Chafni, who had his shot hit the upper corner and bounce back. Just 3 minutes later Camara looked to pull 1 goal back, but he was stopped by Auxerre GK Sorin. The latter was also called upon in the 65th minute, doing well to save a free-kick taken by Estigarribia. Kahlenberg could have made it 3-0 in the 84th minute, but he was stopped by Pele.

Le Havre 0-3 Bordeaux - Le Havre did not have a single shot on goal and were completely outclassed in this match. Bordeaux scored in the 12th minute when Gourcuff finished off a cross from Jussie, and he would have had an assist in the 25th minute but Chamakh was stopped by the Le Havre defense. Bordeaux GK Valverde (who replaced Rame mid-way through the half due to an injury to the latter) was finally called into action late in the first half, coming out to stop Alla before the latter could take his shot. Bordeaux got their second in the 58th minute when Diawara sent home a corner from Wendel, and the third came in the 89th when Wendel struck a free-kick in off the post.

Lille 2-1 Grenoble - Grenoble suffered their 1st loss in the last 7 matches as they were dominated by Lille from the start. The misery began in the 12th minute when Moreira fouled Beria in the box and Bastos easily finished the resulting PK. In the 22nd minute Chedjou had his shot stopped by Grenoble GK wimbee, and Grenoble almost struck back just one minute later when Romao sent his shot barely wide. The second goal came in the 40th minute when Hazard passed to Bastos, who played Vittek through for the finish. Grenoble finally broke through in the 91st minute when a volley from Akrour was cleared only as far as Cesar, whose shot was blocked into the path of Paillot for the goal. The remaining 5 minutes of stoppage time were nervy for Lille, but Grenoble were unable to equalize.

Nancy 0-1 Monaco - Despite some early pressure from both clubs, this match wound up being somewhat listless. In the 4th minute Berenguer had his shot stopped by Monaco GK Ruffier, while Pino sent his shot just wide in the 7th minute. Hadji was stopped by Ruffier in the 25th minute and the 42nd minute, and there were far fewer chances in the second half. The goal came in the 70th minute when a cross from Pino found Park unattended. Nancy had a final chance in the 90th minute, but Helder was stopped by Ruffier. Freddy Adu watch: On the bench, where he remained for the entire match.

Nice 2-2 Caen - Caen continued their streak of 0 wins since November, although they should have taken the 3 points here. Nice opened the scoring quickly, with ben Saada crossing for Remy to finish in the 6th minute. Caen should have equalized shortly, but Nice GK Ospina made a fantastic double-save on Toudic. Caen got a goal in the 65th minute, but it was an OG from Hognon, who shinned the ball into his own net under pressure from Yatabar. Caen then took the lead in the 76th minute Seube latched onto a poor clearance from Apami and finished well. But Caen was down to 10 men in the 82nd minute when Leca picked up his 2nd YC for a poor tackle, and they were unable to hold off Nice who got the equalizer in the 89th minute when Echouafni headed home a Hellebuyck free-kick.

Rennes 0-0 Valenciennes - Valenciennes remain unbeaten since late December, and they were not threatened in this very even match. The time of possession was split 50%-50% and each club could only muster 1 shot on goal. Valenciennes suffered offensively from missing Darcheville, who sustained a calf injury in their last match. The lone attempt for the club came in the 12th minute when Sebo had his header easily saved by Rennes GK Douchez. Rennes were down to 10 men in the 25th minute when Mangane made a nasty tackle from behind on Lacourt, who was stretchered off. The club were still able to manage an effort on goal in the 34th minute when a long ball from Douchez found Thomert who headed to Briand for a nasty volley that was well-saved by Valenciennes GK Penneateau. The sides were evened in the 58th minute when Sanchez-Moreno received a straight RC for terrible tackle on Mbia, but the clubs stalled to a draw.

(Thanks to commenter Dave for the Youtubage of broken tibias. Um, I think).

Marseille 2-0 Nantes - Marseille dominated the match to the point that Nantes were unable to get even 1 shot on goal. The pressure began early, as Kone put a shot just over the bar. In the 25th minute N'Daw put Nante's first chance wide of the post. The second half began with even more pressure from L'OM, as a Brandao volley was well-saved by Nantes GK Alonzo in the 46th minute. The first goal came in the 55th minute when Civelli sent home a cross from Zenden. The latter was responsible for the second goal as well, as his shot bounced around in the box before being finished with a Brandao header.

Sunday, March 22nd:

Lorient 3-1 Saint-Etienne - Lorient had been winless in their last 10 matches, but facing Saint-Etienne was precisly what they needed to end that streak. Amalfitano opened the scoring in the 12th minute when his shot from a Gameiro cross hit the bar and went in. Lorient scored again just 1 minute later when Vahirua intercepted a lazy pass and dribbled around Saint-Etienne GK Janot. Shortly after Janot made a double-save on Gameiro to try and keep his side in the match. His efforts were rewarded in the 39th minute when Benalouane headed in a Payet free-kick (winning the GSTGC award in the process). Lorient secured the 3 points in second-half stoppage time when Jouffre dispossessed Varault and played Saifi through for the finish.

Lyon 2-0 Sochaux - Despite dominating possession, Lyon saw their shots on goal almost equalled by Sochaux and were relatively lucky to get their 1st win in a month. In the 8th minute a Kallstrom corner was headed wide by Ederson, but he would get his goal in the 13th minute on a fantastic volley. Lyon GK Lloris was then kept very busy, making saves on Sverkos and Maurice-Belay in quick succession. The pressure then switched to the other end of the pitch as Sochaux GK Richert stopped Kallstrom in the 35th minute and Clerc in the 45th minute. The second half saw renewed pressure from Sochaux as Lloris made saves on Erdinq (50th minute), Sverkos (60th minute), and Dalmat (62nd minute). The second goal for Lyon came in the 70th minute when a Juninho cross was headed onto goal by Mounier. Richert made the initial save but it came straight back to Mounier who did not miss his 2nd chance. Lloris was called upon to make one final save as a Boudebouz free-kick was headed on to goal by Erdinq.

Toulouse 4-1 Paris Saint-Germain - In a match that was fairly even statistically, Toulouse made all of their chances count to destory and demoralize the club from the capital. In the 4th minute Giuly and Rothen both sent shots just wide, and Toulouse made them pay for the misses just 1 minute later when Bergougnoux finished off a Didot free-kick. Hoarau and Sessegnon were then denied the chance to equalize by Toulouse GK Carrasso. In the 39th minute Ligue 1-leading scorer Gignac sent home a Bergougnoux cross, and Sissoko inflicted further damage in the 44th minute with a well-struck volley. PSG finally got on the board in the 70th minute when a Rothen free-kick fell to Traore, who sent his pass to Mabiala for the finish. Toulouse got their final goal in the 80th minute when Braaten dribbled around PSG GK Landreau and slotted his shot into the empty net.

So, on Matchday 29 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 56 points on a 16-8-5 record and a +17 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 55 points on a 15-10-4 record and a +19 goal differential; (3) Bordeaux, with 53 points on a 15-8-6 record and a +18 goal differential; and (4) Toulouse, with 52 points on a 14-10-5 record and a +12 goal differential.


Anonymous said...

I think 'nasty tackle from behind' is a bit of an understatement.

Double Ow!!

phil said...

Two straight matches on the bench. These are heady times indeed for Freddy.

Andrew said...

A few days ago I mentioned how the Bundesliga is currently the most exciting league in Europe. Well, Ligue 1 is gunning for that title. Six teams have a chance, which is great this late in the season. Hell, following Utds back-to-back L's, and Liverfourth's decision to become Liversecond, the Prem is a lot more exciting.