Monday, April 6, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This weekend saw less scoring than usual overall, but several clubs put in 3 goals. The result of the week goes to FC Sochaux-Montbeliard, who beat Stade Rennais FC 3-0 to move clear of the drop zone. The top of the table remained relatively intact as well, although it is still a tight race with 4 point separating the top 5 clubs.

Saturday, April 4th:

Bordeaux 1-0 Nancy - In a match with more YCs (6) than total shots on goal (3), Bordeaux left it late to secure the 3 points and stay within shouting distance of the top of the table. Bordeaux started off well, with Wendel sending his shot just wide in the 10th minute and Bellion forcing a save from Nancy GK Gregorini in the 14th minute. Biancalini then received a YC in the 17th minute for a clattering challenge which injured Jussie (adding to Bordeaux's injury concerns). Chamakh then began to exert pressure, shooting just wide in the 35th minute. After the restart Gourcuff also stepped up his efforts, shooting just wide in the 49th minute. Nancy were then down to 10 men as Biancalini received his 2nd YC, this time for a handball. Chamakh, Wendel and Gourcuff then went to work, shooting just wide in the 66th and 71st minutes, and hitting the post in the 83rd minute, before Chamakh sent home the winner in the 88th minute after a brilliant first touch on the ball.

Grenoble 1-3 Lorient - Grenoble continued their roller-coaster season with a miserable loss in which they were thoroughly outplayed despite Lorient only putting 2 shots on goal. In the 4th minute Saifi demonstrated the latter club's intent, as he put his header just wide. Courtois responded in the 10th minute, also putting his shot wide. The first goal came in the 29th minute when a Morel cross found Gameiro unattended, but the rest of the first half was uneventful. Lorient started the second half quickly, with a counter-attack resulting in a goal from Obertan (who won the GSTGC award for this week in the process) in the 51st minute. Grenoble pulled 1 goal back in the 70th minute when Akrour was played through by Toure, but Amalfitano made sure of the points in the 77th minute with an incredible strike from 40 yards out.

Le Mans 1-3 Lyon - In a match that they did not dominate statistically, Lyon made all of their shots on goal count to maintain their lead atop the table. In the 7th minute Lamah forced a save from Lyon GK Lloris, but after that it was the Juninho and Benzema show. In the 13th minute Le Mans GK Pele did well to stop a Juninho free-kick, but in the 18th minute he was unable to stop Boumsong's sloppy shot off a well-struck Juninho corner. In the 30th minute Le Mans should have equalized, as a wonderful volley from Thomas beat Lloris, but Makoun cleared the shot off the line. Just 3 minutes later they had another chance to equalize, but this time Coutadeur was stopped when in 1-on-1 with Lloris. Lyon then went up 2-0 just before the break with a low, powerful strike from Benzema. Le Mans were teased yet again in the 54th minute after Lloris was ajudged to have brought down Lamah in the box and a PK was awarded, but after conferring with his linesman the referee reversed his decision. Benzema completed his brace in the 58th minute after Kallstrom took a shot off a poor clearance from Thomas and the rebound landed for an easy finish. Le Mans finally got a goal in the 78th minute when Maiga fed Le Tallec after some good individual play, but it was far too late.

Monaco 0-1 Le Havre - In a fairly even match, it was again left to a late goal to secure the 3 points for 1 of the clubs. Monaco started off with more pressure, as Mollo forced a save from Le Havre GK Revault in the 7th minute. Revault did well to shut down Pino in the 24th minute and Pokrivac in the 25th minute, and then Le Havre began to move the ball better. In the 35th minute Diallo sent his header just wide and the club ended the half with optimism. That showed in the second half, as Monaco GK Ruffier was forced into a good save against Alla in the 67th minute. The goal finally came in the 76th minute when Sambou directed home a cross from Alla. Monaco had 2 final chances, but Nimani sent his shot wide in the 83rd minute and Revault stopped Gakpe in the 90th minute. Freddy Adu watch: Not even on the bench yet again.

Nantes 0-2 Lille - Lille dominated this match and took the well-deserved 3 points after some handbags on the pitch. Nantes had the first chance of the match in the 11th minute, but Bekamenga sent his shot just wide. Then Lille began to overtake the match, with Bastos shooting wide in the 22nd minute and Chedjou heading wide in the 43rd minute. The end of the first half featured a PK for a foul on Hazard, complemented with matching YCs to Balmont (Lille) and N'Daw (Nantes) for some unprofessional fouls. Bastos stepped up and easily converted the PK. He almost had a brace in the 50th minute, but his shot was well-saved by Nantes GK Alonzo. The second goal came in the 58th minute when Beria played an excellent ball for an easy finish from Vittek. The last real chance from either side came in the 69th minute when Ronny sent his header wide.

Valenciennes 2-0 Auxerre - Valenciennes had Darcheville returning from injury and he made an immediate impact by scoring in the 1st minute. Pujol hit the post and Darcheville sent home the rebound to immediately Auxerre on the back foot. He should have had a brace in the 8th minute but sent his header wide. In the 17th minute Kahlenberg had his shot stopped by Valenciennes GK Penneteau, who also did well to stop Oliech in the 20th minute. The second half started with more pressure from Auxerre, with Penneteau called upon to stop Pedretti in the 51st minute. But it all fell apart for Auxerre in the 70th minute after a handball in the area by Lejeune, which allowed Darcheville to complete his brace with the resulting PK. Nantes had 1 final chance in the 82nd minute, but Niculae was stopped by Penneteau.

Caen 0-0 Toulouse - Caen has been winless since late November and had several chances during this match to break that streak, but the club was unable to capitalize. Toulouse had the first chance, as Gignac looked to improve upon his Ligue 1-leading goal tally, but he was stopped by Caen GK Plante. In the 16th minute Yatabase stole the ball on a poor pass but his shot was well-saved by Toulouse GK Carrasso. The latter also stopped Savidan, but for the next 30 minutes the pressure was supplied by Toulouse through the form of Didot, who was twice stopped by Plante and hit the post once. In the 53rd minute Savidan hit a nasty volley that was well-saved by Carrasso, who also stopped a header from Eluchans in the 57th minute. There were few chances for the remainder of the match, and a nil-nil draw was what both clubs deserved.

Sunday, April 5th:

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Nice - The southern club made PSG nervous throughout the match, almost providing more than the club from the capital could handle. In the 6th minute Hoarau hit a screamer from 35 yards that barely went wide, followed shortly by a shot from Giuly that went wide as well. Nice responded through Echouafni, who hit the post in the 17th minute. PSG broke through in the 20th minute as Giuly had his shot saved by Nice GK Ospina, but only as far as Hoarau who headed home the rebound. In the 24th minute Hellebuyck forced PSG GK Landreau into a good save, and Nice got the equalizer in the 35th minute as Remy finished off an Echouafni free-kick. PSG scored almost immediately after the restart, with Traore heading home a cross from Sessegnon. Nice pressured and almost equalized through ben Saada in the 57th minute, but Landreau was up to the task. Giuly forced saves from Ospina in quick succession in the 79th and 82nd minutes, and Nice had 1 final chance to earn 1 point in the 90th minute, but Remy sent his header wide.

Sochaux 3-0 Rennes - Sochaux completely dismantled Rennes despite a match that was statistically even, earning a respite from the relegation zone. Rennes was playing without Jimmy Briand, who sustained an injury during training with Les Bleus, and the side looked uncertain without him. However, Sochaux were also facing a distraction, as captain Stephane Dalmat was charged with assaulting an officer in Paris last Sunday night after the policeman intervened when Dalmat was assaulting his wife. In the 9th minute Erdinq hit the crossbar and Pitau headed home the rebound, but he was judged to have been offside. The first goal came in the 36th minute when M'Bia was caught pulling on Faty's jersey in the box, and Boudebouz sent home the resulting PK. The next goal followed quickly, as Erdinq dribbled 2 defenders and sent home his shot through the legs of Rennes GK Douchez. The only real chance of the match for Rennes came in the 51st minute, but Leroy sent his shot straight at Sochaux GK Richert. Boudebouz turned provider for the final goal, as his cross was sent home by Sverkos in the 86th minute.

Saint-Etienne 0-3 Marseille - Marseille thoroughly dominated bottom-dwelling Saint-Etienne, putting 10 shots on goal and finishing 3 of them. In the 5th minute Mirallas almost put Saint-Etienne ahead, but he was stopped by L'OM GK Mandanda. In the 13th minute Brandao was stopped by Saint-Etienne GK Janot, who was extremely busy throughout the match. Valbuena forced saves from Janot in the 20th, 40th, and 47th minutes, followed shortly by a shot just wide from ben Arfa. The first goal came in the 60th minute as Bayal made a nasty tackle on Niang in the box, allowing the latter to finish off the resulting PK. Saint-Etienne almost equalized in the 64th minute, but Ilan was stopped by Mandanda. L'OM took a 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute when Brandao headed home a cross from Cheyrou, and Niang secured the 3 points by completing his brace in the 76th minute.

So, after Matchday 30, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 59 points on a 17-8-5 record and a +19 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 58 points on a 16-10-4 record and a +22 goal differential; (3) Bordeaux, with 56 points on a 16-8-6 record and a +19 goal differential; and (4) Lille, with 55 points on a 15-10-5 record and a +14 goal differential.


phil said...

No Freddy Adu update?!?! How else am I to keep track of the great hope for American soccer?

The NY Kid said...

sorry Phil! It's in there now - as usual, no Freddy in sight.

Andrew said...

How good are the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 this year? Wonderful season for continental footie.

phil said...

Thank, NYK. Freddy needs to come home. The Fire could use him, seeing as Thorrington doesn't see the need to challenge until his man is past him.

The NY Kid said...

I really believe that Freddy would be better served by coming back to MLS play (although I know that Greg Lalas disagrees with me on this issue).

He is still young and has plenty of time to develop his game at a pace more suitable to him here in the US.

Mike Georger said...

How many French clubs have the shadow boxing lion on their crest?

Andrew said...

Middlesbrough. Well, they play like a French club.