Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review (Update)

This week saw only 1 contender for the GSTGC award, although there were plenty of cards to go around. Lyon fail to gain points on Marseille in their quest for an 8th straight Ligue 1 title, while Bordeaux do not play until Wednesday. The result of the week goes to FC Lorient, who get 1 point out of their match with in-form Toulouse, which is enough to insure that they avoid the drop.

Friday, April 24th:

Lyon 0-0 Paris Saint-Germain - Despite almost complete dominance from Lyon (61% of the possession, 9 corners to 0 for PSG) the match ended in a draw to further dash their hopes of an 8th straight title. Each club had chances early, with Juninho and Rothen both shooting just wide. In the 30th minute Benzema also sent a shot wide. The 44th minute saw a bit of controversy as Ceara appeared to handle the ball in the box but Lyon were denied a PK. In the 57th minute Hoarau was stopped 1-on-1 by Lyon GK Lloris, while a short while later PSG GK Landreau easily saved efforts from Clerc and Juninho. Benzema had the final chance of the match, but he hit the post.

Sunday, April 26th:

Auxerre 2-1 Caen - Auxerre outshot Caen 11-2 and were rewarded for their efforts with 2 late goals to take the 3 points. In the 7th minute Jelen was stopped by Caen GK Plante, who repeated the feat in the 20th minute. At the other end Lemaitre had his header stopped by Auxerre GK Sorin. The second half began the same as the first, with Jelen stopped by Plante in the 48th minute. The opening goal came in the 62nd minute on a Proment strike from 18 yards. The match looked lost for Auxerre until the 86th minute when Gomis sent a poor backpass to Plante that was stolen by Jelen for an easy finish. Just 3 minutes later Jelen completed his brace when he lobbed Plante after Kitambala had dispossessed the defense.

Le Havre 0-1 Grenoble - Grenoble was outshot 1-7, but they made their only shot on goal count while their GK Wimbee made save after save to preserve the victory. Early shots from Baca, Alla and Noro were all stopped by Grenoble GK Wimbee, while his teammates did not threaten his opposite until a Toure free-kick off the crossbar in the 32nd minute. The goal came in the 41st minute due to some excellent passing from Courtois to Moreira, ending with an easy tap-in for Boya. Immediately after the restart Alassane was stopped by Wimbee, who then made an excellent double-save on Noro in the 58th minute. Le Havre almost equalized in injury time after a Dieuze header beat Wimbee, but the shot was cleared off the line by defender Regragui.

Le Mans 0-1 Monaco - Although Le Mans had 8 corners from which to threaten, they were unable to make any of them count and lost the match in disappointing fashion on a late goal. They threatened early through Gervinho, but Monaco GK Ruffier was up to the task. On the ensuing counter-attack Pino sent his shot just over the crossbar. In the 43rd minute a shot from Le Tallec was punched out by Ruffier and the rebound, sent back in by Corchia, was saved as well. Early in the second half Park was stopped in a 1-on-1 situation by Le Mans GK Pele, but the former would make up for his miss in the 87th minute with his cool finish for the winner. Freddy Adu watch: 3rd straight game on the bench without getting into the match. No surprise here, since this match was so tight.

Nancy 2-0 Nantes - A frustrated, relegation-threatened, Nantes committed 26 fouls and only got off 2 shots on goal in a match that they never looked like winning. Their best chance came in the 1st minute when Mareval had his shot stopped by Nancy GK Gregorini. In the 5th minute Feret sent his shot barely wide, and then he forced a save from Nantes GK Assembe in the 18th minute. Feret would get his goal in the 56th minute on an excellent free-kick, although Nantes should have equalized 2 minutes later when Klasnic sent his shot wide. In the 70th minute Assembe fouled Dia in the box for a PK. Although the GK was not given a card, Luiz stepped up and sent home the PK for a 2-0 lead. Nantes had 2 more late chances, but Heinz sent his shot over the bar and Babovic shot just wide.

Nice 3-1 Saint-Etienne - Saint-Etienne had 62% of the possession but were bossed all over the pitch by an in-form Nice squad. Machado provided early pressure for Saint-Etienne, shooting over the crossbar in the 2nd minute and sending a free-kick just wide in the 3rd minute. Nice responded through a shot from Apam that went wide in the 11th minute and a strike from Remy in the 19th minute that forced a save from Saint-Etienne GK Janot. Nice broke through in the 23rd minute when Remy played ben Saada through on a counter-attack, followed by the latter hitting the post 4 minutes later. Just before the break disaster struck for Saint-Etienne as a Hognon header resulted in an OG from defender Tavlaridis. The final goal for Nice came in the 73rd minute when Ozokwo played a through-ball for Mouloungui on yet another counter-attack. The lone goal for Saint-Etienne came in the 94th minute when Ilan headed home a cross from Landrin.

Sochaux 1-1 Valenciennes - In one of the most well-contested matches of the weekend, Sochaux earned a vital point to move out of the relegation zone. This match was all about goal-keeping, as Valenciennes GK Penneteau was tested early by Erdinq and Dalmat, while Sochaux GK Richert stopped shots from Bangoura and Pujol. Richert, however, would earn a RC in the 53rd minute for taking down Audel outside the area, and was replaced by Gavanon. With a 1-man advantage, Valenciennes used some excellent passing from Audel and Pujol to provide an easy finish for Bangoura in the 62nd minute. Sochaux, however, responded well as they knew they were fighting to stay up in Ligue 1. A 30-yard free-kick was well-saved by Penneteau, and Sverkos was denied as well. The pressure paid off in the 94th minute when Traore was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box and Sverkos sent home the resulting PK for the draw.

Toulouse 1-1 Lorient - Although Ligue 1-leading scorer Gignac had 2 early efforts go just wide, the goals in this match did not come until the very end in a draw that was well-deserved (or undeserved, depending on your point of view) for both clubs. In the 26th minute Gameiro sent a volley over the crossbar, and his teammates capitalized on a poor clearance from Toulouse GK Carrasso just minutes later to send in a shot, only to see it cleared off the line by Toulouse defender Fofana. In the 50th minute Gameiro was denied by the well-worked Carrasso, who repeated the feat 10 minutes later. The goal for Lorient came in the 86th minute after some excellent passing from Abriel, Gameiro and Mansouri, who played it to Ayew for an easy finish (Ayew received a YC for "excessive celebration", disqualifying him from the GSTGC award). Toulouse equalized just 2 minutes later when Lorient GK Cappone slipped while trying to control a backpass and Didot stole the ball for a pass and easy finish from Cetto.

Lille 1-2 Marseille - Marseille got their 6th win a row to take an even bigger lead atop the Ligue 1 table, although they needed 2 second half goals to do so. In the 15th minute Beria appeared to grab Niang, but Marseille were denied their shouts for a PK. A penalty did come in the 40th minute, but it was for Lille as Zubar was adjudged to have committed a handball in the box. Fortunately for L'OM, GK Mandanda saved the PK taken by Bastos. Lille opened the scoring in the 48th minute with Hazard finishing off a pass from Vittek, but Marseille equalized in the 54th minute when Cheyrou volleyed home a cross from Kabore. Just 3 minutes later Marseille took the lead when Niang finished off a pass from Valbuena, and Marseille managed to hang on for the 3 points after defender Civelli cleared a shot from Hazard off the line.

Wednesday, April 29th:

Rennes 2-3 Bordeaux - Rennes got off to a cracking start with the quickest goal of the Ligue 1 season. Bocanegra's cross was headed by Thomert to Sow, who sent a quick pass to Danze for the finish in 18 seconds. Sow almost had a goal of his own in the 10th minute, but he could not control the cross in time. Things looked even worse for Bordeaux in the 26th minute when Planus received a straight RC for a late tackle on Sow (with reports indicating it was a harsh RC decision). Despite being down to 10 men, they maintained their composure and finished the half down only 1 goal. Bordeaux increased the pressure in the second half, with Gouffran sending home a volley in the 62nd minute. Gourcuff added another for Bordeaux in the 70th minute with a well-struck free-kick. Sow finally got his goal in the 89th minute to equalize for Rennes and the points looked like they would be split. However, Gourcuff scored in the 93rd minute with the last kick of the match to secure the 3 points and move further ahead of Lyon in the table.

So, after Matchday 33, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Marseille, with 67 points on a 19-10-4 record and a +27 goal differential; (2) Bordeaux, with 62 points on an 18-8-6 record and a +22 goal differential; (3) Lyon, with 61 points on a 17-10-6 record and a +18 goal differential; and (4) Paris Saint-Germain, with 60 points on an 18-6-9 record and a +13 goal differential.

NOTE: Bordeaux plays Rennes on Wednesday, but obviously they will remain in 2nd place regardless of that result. They can move to within 2 points with a win, or stay only 1 point ahead of Lyon with a loss.

UPDATE: (2) Bordeaux, with 65 points on a 19-8-6 record and a +23 goal differential.

1 comment:

The Fan's Attic said...

What are we going to do when Freddy gets into a match? Does that mean the world is ending?