Monday, April 20, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

For the first time we have a repeat (well, back-to-back) winner for the result of the week. Marseille edged out Lorient 2-1 to maintain their spot at the top of the table, putting them 4 points ahead of Lyon (who fall to 3rd). We also had cards galore and a renewed interest amongst the players in obtaining the coveted "Goal-scorer to get carded" award (oh, you can bet they know about it).

Saturday, April 18th:

Caen 1-2 Nancy - Despite outshooting and outpossessing Nancy, Caen lost the match and fell into the relegation zone. Nancy came out of the gates firing, with Hadji slamming home a cross from Feret in the 2nd minute. In the 11th minute Hadji tried to turn provider, but recipient Dia hit the post with his volley. Caen then began to apply pressure, with Savidan twice forcing a save from Nancy GK Gregorini. The pressure paid off in first-half stoppage time when Yatabare latched onto a poor clearance from defender Sami and put home his 1st Ligue 1 goal for the equalizer. The pressure continued on the other side of half-time, with Nivet forcing another save from Gregorini in the 48th minute. However, Nancy began to push back as Gavanon hit the crossbar with a free-kick in the 60th minute. The match-winner came in the 86th minute when Feret notched his 2nd assist of the match, sending through Adjet for a finish at the top of the box.

Grenoble 1-0 Toulouse - In a match with few true chances, it was a PK that decided the affair. In the 15th minute Sirieix was stopped by Toulouse GK Carrasso, while just 3 minutes later Gignac was denied by Grenoble GK Wimbee. The goal came in the 39th minute when Capoue committed a handball in the box and Courtois stepped up to cooly finish off the resulting PK. Courtois should have had an assist as well, in the 50th minute, but Traore headed his cross over the bar. Toulouse had 1 final chance at an equalizer in the 87th minute but Pentecoute hit the post.

Monaco 3-1 Rennes - You could have turned this match on in the 65th minute and still seen the majority of the action. There were a few chances early, with a volley from Leroy tipped over the bar by Monaco GK Ruffier in the 6th minute and Hansson sending a header from the resulting corner over the bar. In the 40th minute Park put his header onto the post, and in the 45th minute Danze shot over the bar. The second half started where the first half ended, with pressure from Monaco. The goal finally came in the 76th minute when Aubey received a straight RC for a heinous tackle in the box and Leko slammed home the resulting PK. In the 84th minute Pino cooly finished off a burst of speed by sliding his shot past Rennes GK Douchez. Just 1 minute later Rennes pulled 1 goal back on a brilliant Cheyrou free-kick, but it wasn't enough. Pino completed his brace in the 93rd minute on the equivalent of a hockey empty-netter, on a counter-attack after the entire Rennes squad had come up the pitch for a corner. Freddy Adu watch: Brace yourselves, people! Back-to-back games on the bench! OK, he didn't play, but it's progress.

Nantes 2-0 Nice - In a match that featured end-to-end action in terms of both cards and attempts on goal, it was fitting that the first opportunity came in the 1st minute, with Capoue sending his header onto the post. In the 12th minute Vainquer hit the underside of the bar, but Nice GK Ospina was able to make the save. In the 19th minute Mareval sent in a cross which was well-volleyed by Bekamenga for the opening goal. Nice saw their chances diminished as Cid picked up a YC on either side of the half, sending them down to 10 men in the 56th minute. Ospina was then forced into a nice save of a de Freitas free-kick in the 60th minute, and again to stop a volley from Bagayoko in the 65th minute. However, the latter broke through in the 90th minute when he finished off a nice pass from Mareval and won the GSTGC award in the process.

Sochaux 0-1 Auxerre - Auxerre started quickly, with Jelen putting a shot over the crossbar in the 1st minute and Kahlenberg forcing Sochaux GK Richert into a good save in the 5th minute. The first opportunity for Sochaux came in the 22nd minute when Sverkos was stopped by Auxerre GK Sorin. The second half started identically to the first, with Jelen putting a shot over the crossbar in the 47th minute. The next 40 minutes saw almost no action, with the next chance resulting in a goal by Kahlenberg in the 86th minute. Grichting had provided the cross for Oliech, whose shot was pushed out by Richert only to land at the feet of Kahlenberg. Auxerre should have added another goal, but Richert did well to stop Oliech in the 88th minute and Niculae in the 93rd minute.

Valenciennes 0-2 Le Mans - Le Mans dominated the match from start to finish, opening the pressure in the 8th minute with a Coutadeur free-kick headed wide by Gervinho. In the 25th minute a Coutadeur corner was headed off the post by Cerdan, and in the 38th minute Lamah sent a shot over the bar. Valenciennes had their first chance just after the restart, with Sanic volleying a corner from Danic over the crossbar. Le Mans struck immediately after, Cerdan sending home a powerful shot in the 49th minute. The final goal came in the 67th minute, with Le Tallec heading home a cross from Camara.

Saint-Etienne 2-1 Lille - In one of the most exciting matches of the weekend Saint-Etienne had as many YCs as shots on goal (thanks to 29 fouls, to 19 for Lille) and ran their opponents ragged. In the 3rd minute Machado (on loan from CL side Porto) hit the post with a free-kick, starting off his busy afternoon. He then had a shot stopped by Lille GK Malicki in the 21st minute, hit the crossbar with a free-kick in the 30th minute, and had a free-kick saved by Malicki in the 38th minute. The initial goal came in the 51st minute when Ilan finished off a pass from Gomis to give Saint-Etienne the lead. Lille almost equalized in the 55th minute when a Bastos free-kick was headed towards the goal by Obraniak, but Saint-Etienne GK Janot was up to the task. Just 5 minutes later Janot was injured in a collision with Fauvergue and had to be replaced by Coulibaly. The next goal came in the 66th minute after some nice interplay started off and finished by Gomis, with passes coming from Machado and Mirallas in between. Lille pulled 1 goal back in the 72nd minute whe Fauvergue beat Coulibaly to a cross, but the latter was able to prevent an equalizer by stopping Cabaye in the 75th minute.

Sunday, April 19th:

Lorient 1-2 Marseille - Amidst an early goal from Lorient and some late handbags, Marseille completely dominated the match and deserved to take the 3 points to maintain their lead atop the Ligue 1 standings. Lorient struck first in the 8th minute with Gameiro receiving a long ball from Amalfitano and dribbling around Marseille GK Mandanda. In the 12th minute Brandao was stopped by Lorient GK Audard, and he cheekily pushed the GK (and ball) into the net but was not awarded the goal (and rightly so). Audard seemed injured on the play, and he had to be replaced by Cappone in the 25th minute. Just before the half Cappone was called into action to stop a well-struck shot from Kone. Marseille got their equalizer in the 59th minute when a shot from Wiltord was pushed out by Cappone, only to land at the feet of Civelli for an easy tap-in. Their next goal came in the 79th minute when Brandao finished off a cross from Ziani. Lorient looked to equalize, but Saifi was stopped by Mandanda. The match ended on a down note, with Cana (OM) and Le Lan (Lorient) both receiving straight RCs for a donnybrook over a disputed throw-in.

Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Le Havre - PSG came out determined to move back into the top 4 and they put Le Havre to the sword. Early on Noro was stopped by PSG GK Landreau, and the club from the capital then began to apply steady pressure. Giuly sent successuve volleys over the bar and wide, to which Le Havre responded with their only effort of the match, having ben Idir stopped by Landreau. The initial goal came in the 41st minute when Giuly finished off a well-weighted through-ball from Rothen. In the 54th minute the latter got a goal of his own after some clinical passing from Armand to Giuly to Hoarau. Sessegnon then sent a shot barely wide, but PSG weren't done as Hoarau slid a goal under Le Havre GK Revault in the 90th minute.

Bordeaux 1-0 Lyon - With a chance to maintain some pressure on Marseille, Lyon instead suffered defeat to slip to 3rd in the table. In the 5th minute Ederson was tackled in the box by Chalme, but despite Lyon's insistence no PK was awarded. Benzema then applied pressure, shooting over the crossbar and then forcing a save from Bordeaux GK Rame. Bordeaux responded, with Diawara sending a volley over the crossbar in the 25th minute, followed by shots from Gouffran going barely wide and just over the crossbar. The goal came in the 43rd minute as a shot from Wendel crashed off the post and Diarra sent home the rebound (helped by a deflection off Boumsong). In the 60th minute a shot from Gouffran produced a great save from Lyon GK Lloris. Benzema should have equalized in the 75th minute after a great run, but his lob went over the crossbar, and Lyon left the pitch disconsolate.

So, after Matchday 32 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Marseille, with 64 points on an 18-10-4 record and a +26 goal differential; (2) Bordeaux, with 62 points on an 18-8-6 record and a +22 goal differential; (3) Lyon, with 60 points on a 17-9-6 record and a +18 goal differential; and (4) Paris Saint-Germain, with 59 points on an 18-5-9 record and a +13 goal differential.

1 comment:

The Fan's Attic said...

So the streak may end, huh? Nice.