Monday, May 18, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

This week saw quite a few braces scored and a rash of OGs (attempted and completed). The result of the week goes to Bordeaux, who moved into 1st place with a 3-2 victory over Le Mans thanks to a Lyon victory over Marseille.

Saturday, May 16th:

Bordeaux 3-2 Le Mans - Bordeaux took 26 shots and held 68% of the possession, but Le Mans made them work hard for their 3 points. The pressure began early from Les Girondins, as a Tremoulinas free-kick hit the crossbar. The opening goal, however, came for Le Mans as Le Tallec finished off a nice pass from Baal (seriously? that's quite the name) on the counter-attack. Soon after, Le Mans gaffer Daniel Jeandupeux was sent to the stands for protesting, and Bordeaux took advantage when Chamakh headed home a Gourcuff header in the 38th minute. The latter got a goal of his own in first-half stoppage time, cleaning up a scramble in the goal mouth for his 5th goal in his last 4 matches. In the 55th minute Maiga and Gervinho did some nice work down the right-hand side, eventually resulting in a goal from Le Tallec to complete his brace. Tension was high on the pitch as Bordeaux pressed for the match-winner, and Planus obliged in the 76th minute, sending home the rebound after a Gourcuff volley came back off the post.

Caen 2-0 Sochaux - Sochaux wasted their efforts from last weekend by finishing the match with more YCs than shots on goal. Caen made their intentions clear in the 8th minute when a Gomis free-kick was headed goalward by Yatabar, forcing a save from Sochaux GK Richert. The latter was forced into another save just 1 minute later, this time on a Deroin free-kick headed by Gomis. Sochaux did not get their first opportunity until the 43rd minute when a Martin free-kick was stopped by Caen GK Plante. They began to apply slightly more pressure in the second half, with Perquis forcing a save from Plante, Erdinq hitting the post after beating the offside trap, and a free-kick from Dalmat hitting the crossbar. Caen finally opened the scoring in the 77th minute when Savidan dribbled circles around Sochaux defender Faty and lobbed Richert. The profilic Savidan finished off his brace in the 90th minute when he got on the end of a long pass and beat Faty (again) to come in alone on goal. The result moves Caen back out of the relegation zone, and Sochaux back into danger.

Grenoble 0-0 Nancy - It's cliche to say that nil-nil draws are often boring, but this was exactly the type of match that footy-haters point to as a negative example of the sport. Grenoble managed only 1 shot on goal, had only 2 corners, and were caught offsides six times, while Nancy were only slightly better, with 3 shots on goal and 6 corners. In fact, both clubs were whistled vociferously by their supporters for their poor play throughout the match. In the 11th minute a Gavanon free-kick was caught by Grenoble GK Wimbee, while in the 24th minute a shot from the former hammered the post. The lone Grenoble effort came in the 43rd minute when a shot from Boya was well-stopped by Nancy GK Gregorini. The only other significant action in the match came in the 85th minute when Wimbee came off his line to beat Adjet to a long pass.

Lorient 1-1 Le Havre - In a match that featured an assist from Alla and a YC to Mary, the biggest miracle was the fact that Lorient barely avoided 2 OGs. Le Havre struck first, with Diallo scoring in the 11th minute, and they could have been up 3-0 after Le Lan and Saifi almost scored OGs within minutes of each other. In the 56th minute a Morel volley was stopped by Le Havre GK Placide, but Lorient finally got the equalizer in the 63rd minute off a Vahirua free-kick. The match ended with 2 big saves from Placide, the first on Saifi and the second on Gameiro.

Monaco 1-1 Valenciennes - Monaco were caught offsides 7 times and could only manage 2 corners, but they were able to hold on to a very early lead. Park scored the goal in the 6th minute, finishing off a nice pass from Meriem. In the 24th minute the latter was stopped by Valenciennes GK Penneteau, who also stopped Park in the 30th minute. The equalizer came in the 61st minute when a header from Mater was punched out by Monaco GK Ruffier, but only as far as Audel who finished it easily (claiming the GSTGC award in the process). Ruffier atoned by making quick saves in succession on Mater and Bangoura, while the draw was kept alive for Valenciennes when defender Ducourtioux cleared a shot from Nimani off the line. Freddy Adu watch: On the bench, staring forlornly at the pitch.

Saint-Etienne 2-2 Toulouse - In an incredibly even match the sharing of points was a well-deserved result for both clubs. Toulouse almost got off to an incredibly poor start in the 9th minute when a cross from Payet threatened to become an OG until covered by Toulouse GK Carrasso. Attempting shots on the correct goal, Cesar and Tabriou both shot just wide. The goal came in the 34th minute when Sall headed home a corner from Machado. The second half began with a shot from Tabriou straight at Saint-Etienne GK Janot, while at the other end of the pitch Carrasso did well to stop a volley from Ilan. The equalizer came in the 66th minute from Sissoko on a well-weighted through-ball from Gignac. Saint-Etienne went back in front in the 73rd minute when Cetto fouled Machado in the box and Ilan easily sent home the resulting PK. Things fell apart for relegation-threatened Saint-Etienne in the 89th minute when Gignac picked off a poor clearance from Janot and sent home his Ligue 1-leading 22nd goal to secure the draw.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Auxerre - Paris Saint-Germain took a blow to their European dreams with a loss to Auxerre, despite outplaying them on the pitch. In the 6th minute Kahlenberg had a well-struck shot saved by PSG GK Landreau, while Camara had his diving header stopped by Auxerre GK Sorin. Kezman and Pedretti then traded shots on goal, with both going wide. The first goal came in the 40th minute when Jelen took a shot which was deflected by PSG defender Camara for an OG. Jelen then got his club a more legitimate goal in first-half stoppage time, finishing off a pass from Pedretti. In the 59th minute Sakho had his volley cleared off the line by Auxerre defender Berthod, and Ceara was stopped by Sorin just minutes later. PSG finally broke through in the 83rd minute when Sessegnon finished off a pass from Ceara, but it came too late to avoid dropping the points.

Sunday, May 17th:

Nantes 1-1 Rennes - In another very even match, goals late in each half provided most of the action. In the 8th minute N'Daw had his shot stopped by Rennes GK Douchez, and 4 minutes later Nantes GK Alonzo had to be alert to handle a Mareveaux free-kick. Bagayoko opened the scoring in the 42nd minute after an error by Rennes defender Hansson. Despite continued pressure, however, he was unable to score another, shooting wide on 1 occasion and shooting straight at Douchez on 2 other opportunities. He would rue the misses in the 84th minute when a through-ball from Leroy was collected by Sow and sent home for an easy finish.

Lille 1-1 Nice - Despite Nice only putting 1 shot on goal they were able to come out of this match with a draw, securing 1 point. The club's lone goal came in the 34th on a low shot from the top of the area by Modeste. They thought they had taken a 2-0 lead in the 37th minute after a goal from Bamogo, but it was disallowed due to a foul. The second-half belonged to Lille, as Nice GK Ospina was forced into a wonderful double-save on Balmont and Vittek, and Bastos followed a few minutes later with a header that Ospina did well to save. The equalizer finally arrived in the 71st minute when Ospina came out for a corner and missed the ball completely, allowing Cabaye to score with an easy tap-in. Ospina atoned for his error by stopping the last goal-scoring opportunity of the match after Hazard beat 3 defenders, tipping the latter's shot onto the post.

Marseille 1-3 Lyon - Lyon showed a bit of spark in this match, knocking Marseille off their spot atop the Ligue 1 table. The latter club started off more strongly, however, with Niang hitting the post and Valbuena and Brandao forcing saves from Lyon GK Lloris. In the 31st minute Brandao took down Ederson in the box, and Benzema stepped up to slam home the resulting PK. He completed his brace in the 42nd minute, finishing off a through-ball from Toulalan. Marseille began to push back, with Cheyrou hitting the post, and Niang was twice denied an appeal for a penalty. They finally scored in the 80th minute when Wiltord finished off a cross from Niang, but it came far too late. Juninho ended the scoring in the 91st minute with a well-struck free-kick.

So, after Matchday 36 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Bordeaux, with 74 points on a 22-8-6 record and a +28 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 71 points on a 20-11-5 record and a +27 goal differential; (3) Lyon, with 67 points on a 19-10-7 record and a +21 goal differential; and (4) Paris Saint-Germain, with 63 points on a 19-6-11 record and a +12 goal differential.


Sarah said...

I always forget Freddy Adu is in France until I see the "Freddy Adu watch" in these posts.

The NY Kid said...

to be fair, Sarah, even Monaco has forgotten that Freddy plays for Monaco.


The Fan's Attic said...

So which one of these games made ESPN's top plays with that incredible goal from the endline?