Monday, May 4, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

A few snoozers this week, and increased confusion for some at the top of the table due to some surprising results. The result of the week goes to Bordeaux, who downed Sochaux 3-0 to move into a tie for first place in Ligue 1.

Saturday, May 2nd:

Caen 3-1 Le Mans- Caen struck early and applied pressure throughout the entire match for a well-deserved win. They went ahead in the 8th minute when Barzola latched onto a poor clearance from Maiga and blasted his shot home. Le Mans equalized in the 27th minute on a brilliant free-kick from Cerdan, but their only other chance of the match came in the 40th minute when Maiga sent his shot just over the bar. In the 42nd minute Deroin had his volley stopped by Le Mans GK Pele, but 10 minutes later Caen had their 2nd goal when Seube finished off an easy pass from ben Khalfalah. In the 56th minute Savidan was stopped by Pele, but Deroin finished off the rebound to secure the 3 points. The damage could have been worse, as a Proment free-kick in the 60th minute almost resulted in an OG from Le Mans defender Geder.

Grenoble 0-0 Nice - In a match that was a bit of a snoozer, Nice had the better early tempo, with Echouafni just heading wide a ben Saada free-kick. Grenoble began to pressure back, with Toure sending a shot just over the bar and Courtois volleying a corner from Batlles off the post. The 2 hooked up again a few minutes later, this time eliciting a save from Nice GK Ospina. In the second half Remy sent a shot just over the bar for Nice's best chance, while a Batlles free-kick was headed over the bar by Paillot in injury time for Grenoble's best effort.

Lorient 3-1 Lille - Lille continued their tumble away from European competition with their 3rd straight loss despite scoring first and dominating early. The goal came in the 36th minute when Cabaye chested down a cross from Bria and volleyed home the shot. Lorient began to push back, and Ayew hit the bar in the 43rd minute. Immediately after the restart Lille GK Malicki did well to stop a corner from Jouffre that was drifting into the goal, but Lorient got their equalizer in the 64th minute when Ciani headed home a Vahirua corner. They took the lead in the 87th minute when Saifi dribbled through the entire defense after a defensive mistake, and added a 3rd goal in the 89th minute when Vahirua played Abriel through for an easy finish on a counter.

Monaco 0-1 Auxerre - Auxerre thoroughly dominated a listless Monaco club and deserved the 3 points. In the 15th minute Jelen volleyed a pass from Oliech just wide of the post, while in the 25th minute Coulibaly sent his volley smashing into that same post. Just 1 minute later Pedretti sent in a cross that was headed home by Kahlenberg for the only goal of the match. Monaco did not get their first real opportunity until the 61st minute when Perez was stopped by Auxerre GK Sorin. Oliech almost doubled the tally in the 63rd minute when his shot was deflected by defender Nkoulou, but it hit the bar. Freddy Adu watch: Once again on the bench, but no PT despite all 3 substitutions being used in this match. LET MY FREDDY GO!

Saint-Etienne 0-0 Nancy - This battle of bottom-dwellers featured more YCs than shots for Nancy, and an inept Saint-Etienne offense that managed only 5 shots on goal despite taking 20 shots in total. In the 13th minute N'Guemo had his free-kick stopped by Saint-Etienne GK Janot, as did Feret a few minutes later. On the other end of the pitch Nancy GK Gregorini was called upon to make saves on Payet and Gomis (whose shot was directly at the GK). The second half was equally ugly, with Payet stopped Gregorini yet again, and Ilan shooting over the bar. The end of the match featured 2 excellent saves from Janot, who stopped both Dia and Ndiaye from stealing the 3 points.

Valenciennes 2-0 Lyon - It took Audel precisely 6 minutes to destroy Lyon's season, as the defending champions are now 7 points adrift with only 4 matches left. In the 6th minute Santos was stopped by Valenciennes GK Penneteau and then the nightmare began. Audel scored his first in the 23rd minute after beating Boumsong following a quick throw-in to easily finish, and completed his brace in the 29th minute after he left the Lyon defense staring as he went 1-on-1 with GK Lloris and finished coolly. Just before the half Ederson hit the post, but Lyon went into the dressing room demoralized. Almost immediately after the restart Audel should have completed his hat-trick, but he sent his shot over the bar. Lyon then appeared to realize that they were losing, and began to exert some effort. However, Penneteau was up to the task, stopping both Benzema and Ederson to preserve the victory.

Marseille 2-2 Toulouse - In the most exciting match of the weekend, Marseille twice came back from being 1 goal down to preserve their spot atop the table. In reality, Toulouse were lucky to achieve the draw, as they had only 2 shots on goal (with both going in) and held only 38% of the possession. Marseille should have scored first, as a shot from Valbuena beat Toulouse GK Carrasso but was headed off the line by defender Cetto. Didot had 2 good opportunities for Toulouse, but he volleyed 1 wide and hit the crossbar with his other shot. Immediately after the restart ben Arfa elicited 2 saves in quick succession from Carrasso, and Gignac rewarded his GK's efforts in the 48th minute by slotting home a loose ball through Marseille GK Mandanda's legs. In the 55th minute Carrasso made 2 brilliant saves, diving to stop a shot from Niang and then scrambling back to get to the attempted lob from Cheyrou. The latter 2 players, however, would get their revenge in the 63rd minute when a Cheyrou cross was finished off by a Niang header for the first equalizer. Cheyrou and ben Arfa were then stopped again by Carrasso, who put forth an unbelievable effort during this match. Toulouse re-took the lead in the 73rd when Gignac finished his brace (and garnered the GSTGC award for the week) after receiving a well-weighted pass from Braaten on the counter. But Niang completed his brace just 1 minute later, getting some help from a deflection after shooting from a difficult angle. The remaining 15 minutes were alternately frantic and composed, but neither side was able to get a 3rd goal. At the end of the match, outgoing Marseille gaffer Gerets actually went across the pitch to congratulate Carrasso on his wonderful performance, which was a classy move.

Sunday, May 3rd:

Nantes 1-2 Le Havre - In a clean, well-played match, Le Havre got goals on either side of the half against fellow relegation-fodder Nantes. The latter club got on the scoresheet first, as Bekamenga sent home a powerful shot in the 24th minute. In the 32nd minute Alla was stopped by Nantes GK Alonzo, who also stopped a volley from Alla in the 37th minute. Le Havre got their equalizer in the 40th minute when Dieuze sent over a pass from an Anin cross that was headed home by Diallo. Bekamenga was denied a brace in the 52nd minute by Le Havre GK Placide, who also stopped da Rocha in the 57th minute. The winning goal came in the 61st minute when a ben Idir corner was only cleared as far as Marange, who brought the ball back into the area before unleashing his shot.

Paris Saint-Germain 0-1 Rennes - PSG suffered a blow in their attempts to secure a Champions League spot for next year at the hands of Stade Rennais and an unfortunate goal. The club from the capital, playing without Hoarau (who failed a late fitness test) had opportunities from 9 corners, but they were unable to break through. In the 17th minute a pass from Giuly was shot across the face of goal by Sessegnon, who later also sent a shot just wide of the post. In the 20th minute Thomert provided the only opportunity of the half for Rennes, shooting over the crossbar. The goal came in the 66th minute when a shot from Leroy was deflected in by defender Sakha. PSG continued to pressure, but Clement and Sessegnon shot wide, while Makelele was stopped by Rennes GK Douchez.

Bordeaux 3-0 Sochaux - Bordeaux completely dominated this match and moved into a tie for first place (on points) with Marseille. In the 7th minute Sertic exhibited some nice control on a pass from Chalme, spinning and firing home his shot in one motion. Chalme was also the provider in the 15th minute when he chipped a pass through for a header from Gourcuff. Sochaux did not threaten until the end of the first half, when Erdinq shot just over the bar and Boudebouz hit the crossbar. Bordeaux started the second half with the same amount of pressure as the first, with Fernando heading just wide and Bellion hitting the crossbar. Already down by 2 goals, Sochaux then went down a man in the 83rd minute when Afolabi received his second YC for tripping Chamakh. Just for good measure, the latter the headed home a cross from Tremoulinas in injury time for the final goal.

So, after Matchday 34 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Marseille, with 68 points on a 19-11-4 record and a +27 goal differential; (2) Bordeaux, with 68 points on a 20-8-6 record and a +26 goal differential; (3) Lyon, with 61 points on a 17-10-7 record and a +16 goal differential; (4) Paris Saint-Germain, with 60 points on an 18-6-10 record and a +12 goal differential.


The Fan's Attic said...

so Lyon won't get to the 8th straight title huh?

jjf3 said...

Bordeaux's taking it, barring some shocking results. Yeah! I semi-follow a team, in a league I don't care too much about, that doesn't suck!

(Get to work Aberdeen and Atletico)

And we'll just ignore Rovers for the moment...

jjf3 said...

(and Atletico might get usurped by the Yellow Submarine if Jozy starts getting regular playing time in the future)

ü75 said...

Aberdeen suck balls. They had a run at it this year, but never took the easy wins to get over the hump. Now they have to make up four points in four games on Dundee United. The only bright spot is that United have already played their "easiest" of the post-split matches. Showdown this Thursday between the two clubs in Dundee. Hopefully, I'll be full of hope on Friday.

amy said...

Gourcuff is so effing hot. He is the lone reason I care about Ligue 1. I wonder if AC Milan will want him back after this season.