Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

As the season winds down the Ligue 1 champion has yet to be determined, but it will definitely be a different club from the past 7 years. This week saw reduced scoring and tight matches as clubs at both ends of the table looked for much-needed results. The result of the week goes to Le Mans, who tied Grenoble 1-1 and in so doing probably did enough to stave off relegation.

Saturday, May 23rd:

Auxerre 1-0 Saint-Etienne - Both clubs started quickly, as Payet forced a save from Auxerre GK Sorin, while Birsa sent his shot just over the crossbar at the other end of the pitch. In the 40th minute Pedretti's cross found Jelen, who shot just wide, and the latter opened the second half by shooting over the crossbar. Jelen would get his goal in the 60th minute after a defensive mistake. Saint-Etienne would have 2 final chances to earn a draw, but Benalouane was stopped by a nice save from Sorin in the 76th minute and Ilan headed over the crossbar in the 86th minute.

Bordeaux 1-0 Monaco - Bordeaux earned a vital 3 points to maintain their lead atop the Ligue 1 table by bossing Monaco all over the pitch. The club from the principality almost opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, Pino shooting just wide, but after that it was all Bordeaux. In the 10th minute Tremoulinas sent a free-kick just wide, and 10 minutes later Jussie forced a save from Monaco GK Ruffier. The lone goal of the match came in the 35th minute when Chamakh headed home a free-kick. Newly-named Ligue 1 POY Gourcuff was stopped by Ruffier just after the restart, and Bordeaux continued their pressure. In the 64th minute Sertic was stopped twice in front of net by the Monaco defense, but Bordeaux had the only goal that they needed. Freddy Adu watch: Freddy broke his streak of sitting on the bench and not seeing the pitch by...not even being on the bench.

Le Havre 0-1 Lille - Le Havre, already relegated, put up very little fight in this match, with Lille holding 59% of the possession and getting off 10 shots on goal. In the 21st minute Vittek shot just wide, and Le Havre GK Revault was kept busy for the next few minutes, coming out to grab a cross from Beria and stopping Vittek 1-on-1. The second half began with some signs of life from Le Havre, as Lille GK Butelle was called upon to stop a header from Dieuze and a free-kick from Alla. The goal came in the 67th minute when Hazard found Bastos unmarked for the relatively easy finish.

Le Mans 1-1 Grenoble - In an even match between the similarly-situated clubs, the 1 point from a draw was the deserved result. In the 3rd minute Maiga had his header stopped by Grenoble GK Wimbee, while in the 10th minute a volley from Courtois was saved by Le Mans GK Pele. The save of the match came in the 16th minute when Wimbee did well to get to a shot from Gervinho, and the GK followed that up by tipping a shot from Stromstad just over the crossbar. In the 58th minute a shot from Maiga was pushed out by Wimbee, and Le Tallec hit the crossbar with the rebound. The breakthrough finally came in the 70th minute when Akrour steered home a header from a Batlles free-kick. The lead was short-lived, however, as Wimbee once again parried a shot out to Le Tallec, with the latter finishing the rebound this time for the equalizer. Grenoble had 1 final opportunity, but Akrour was stopped by Pele.

Lyon 3-1 Caen - Lyon somewhat salvaged their season with this win, ensuring their spot in next year's Champions League. Lyon put in a dominant performance, starting things quickly with a goal from Benzema that was disallowed for offside. Caen had 2 good opportunities, but Savidan put his shot straight at Lyon GK Lloris in the 15th minute and the GK stopped Deroin in the 21st minute. In the 34th minute Juninho was brought down in the area by Lemaitre, and the former stepped up to coolly finish off the resulting PK. Several minutes after the restart Ederson and Benzema both shot wide, but there were still goals to come. In the 70th minute Govou received the ball with a nice bit of control and then finished his shot easily, taking home the GSTGC award for the week. Caen managed to make things interesting in the 82nd minute when Yatabare sent home a cross from Savidan, but Benzema secured the victory in the 89th minute after a long run through the midfield.

Nancy 1-2 Marseille - Marseille kept their slim hopes for a title alive with their victory over a struggling Nancy. In the 2nd minute Kone was stopped by Nancy GK Gregorini, while Chretien went just wide in the 9th minute. Although Nancy scored the 1st goal, it was an OG from Macaluso who deflected a shot from Bonnart. The next Marseille goal was more legitimate, as Brandao slammed a shot into the upper 90 off a corner kick in the 56th minute. Over the next 20 minutes Marseille and Nancy both saw numerous chances go wide. The latter club drew 1 goal back in the 88th minute when N'Guemo headed home a cross from Gavanon, but it was not enough.

Nice 0-2 Toulouse - The Nice offense was anemic, and they managed exactly 0 shots on goal. In the 2nd minute Bonnet forced a save from Nice GK Ospina, while over the next few minutes Gignac took several close shots on the other end of the pitch. The Ligue 1-leading scorer opened his account for this match in the 13th minute with a well-struck shot into the bottom corner. He finished his brace in the 30th minute, sending home a pass from Capoue. The second half was similar to the first, with Toulouse providing all of the offense. Nice looked to have an opportunity in the 67th minute, but Mouloungui had his shot blocked. The match ended with a speculative shot from 35 yards from Tabanou that went over the crossbar.

Rennes 3-1 Lorient - This match was fairly even statistically, but Rennes made the most of their chances to secure the 3 points. In the 7th minute Sow had his volley blocked on the line by Lorient defender Le Lan, Gyan sent a header wide several minutes later. The floodgates opened in the 41st minute when Sow collected a long pass and sent home the shot. Just before the half Fanni sent in a diving header off a corner for a 2-0 lead. The beginning of the second half was mostly listless, but things picked up in the 77th minute when Jallet hit the bar with a header. Just 1 minute later his teammate Vahirua gave Lorient some hope, but Rennes struck again in the 82nd minute when Ekoko finished off a through-ball from Leroy.

Sochaux 2-1 Nantes - The victory gives Sochaux hope that they will avoid relegation. In the 3rd minute Sverkos forced a save from Nantes GK Alonzo, and the latter did well to beat Afolabi to a cross 3 minutes later. Capoue was then stopped by Sochaux GK Richert on the other end of the pitch. In the 34th minute Erdinq headed home a Martin free-kick to open the scoring, and another Martin free-kick in the 45th minute resulted in a 2-0 lead when Afolabi finished it off. The latter then gave 1 goal back in the 61st minute when he brought down Klasnic in the area and Bagayoko finished off the resulting PK. Nantes should have equalized in the 80th minute, but Capoue hit the post, and their last chance went for naught in injury time when Abdoun was stopped by Richert.

Valenciennes 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain - PSG saw an embarrassing result come after optimism stemming from an early goal. While Luyindula went just wide in the 5th minute, his teammate Kezman was able to send home a cross from Giuly in the 12th minute to give PSG the 1-0 lead. Valenciennes then began to apply pressure, with Pujol having his shot cleared off the line by PSG defender Armand in the 25th minute. The lead should have been 2-0 in the 43rd minute, but Giuly was stopped by Valenciennes GK Penneteau. They would rue the misses in the second half as Audel equalized in the 61st minute with a header off a Danic free-kick. Pujol gave his club the lead in the 66th minute, sending home a pass from Audel. PSG had 1 final chance to equalize, but Luyindula was stopped by Penneteau in the 91st minute.

So, after Matchday 37 the top of the table looks like this: (1) Bordeaux, with 77 points on a 23-8-6 record and a +29 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 74 points on a 21-11-5 record and a +28 goal differential; (3) Lyon, with 70 points on a 20-10-7 record and a +23 goal differential; and (4) Toulouse, with 63 points on a 16-15-6 record and a +18 goal differential.


phil said...

Judging by our form of Saturday, if Bastos does come to Spurs, he's going to see a lot of unmarked people in the box, it's just that they'll be on the other team.

Isn't Adu headed back to Benfica? Any chance he sees the pitch there?

EbullientFatalist said...

Is Gourcuff making the loan to Bordeaux from Milan permanent? Hell of a loan, regardless.

The NY Kid said...

@phil - according to Freddy's own Twitter, so there is a slight possibility he will remain with Monaco. Either way I don't see him getting much time on the pitch.

@EF - Gourcuff has come out and said he would prefer to remain with Bordeaux if he isn't going to get as much playing time at Milan. I believe they have until May 31st to finalize, with a $23 million price tag to make the loan permanent.