• Monday, 20 April 2009

    Lyon: the end is nigh. Ligue 1 reviews

    Caen 1-2 Nancy
    Monaco 3-1 Rennes
    Valenciennes 0-2 Le Mans
    Grenoble 1-0 Toulouse
    Sochaux 0-1 Auxerre
    Nantes 2-0 Nice
    St Etienne 2-1 Lille
    PSG 3-0 Le Havre
    Lorient 1-2 Marseille
    Bordeaux 1-0 Lyon

    High drama in Bordeaux where Les Girondins kicked the still-twitching carcass of Lyon's attempts to make it eight in a row. Lyon needed a win to keep pace at the top and were bossing the game in the first half and had a pretty clear cut penalty waved away when Ederson was upended in the box. Just before the break and against the run of play, Alou Diarra stabbed a deflected shot home and that was enough to win the game and put them second behind Marseille. Yoann Gourcuff brought out the best of Hugo Lloris in the second half and Diarra almost grabbed a second, but Bordeaux had to withstand tremendous pressure late on to come away with all three points. Marseille came from behind to beat Lorient to remain top of the pile where both sides finished with ten men as Arnaud Le Lan and Lorik Cana, OM's skipper not leading by example, got involved in a bit of handbags in the dying seconds and both were dismissed. All that over a throw-in. Pathetic. Kevin Gameiro put Lorient ahead on eight minutes as Marseille started sluggishly, but the leaders slowly got into their stride and were the better side throughout. Sub keeper Lionel Cappone, on for Fabien Audard who had been injured in a clash with man-mountain Brandao, kept out a fierce Sylvain Wiltord effort on the hour only for the ball to break to Renato Civelli who lashed it home. The winner came ten out from full-time, Brandao taking down Karim Ziani's cross and firing high into the net to preserve OM's lead in the league.

    Toulouse and Lille both slipped up while PSG won well to put themselves back in the frame and put a shocker of a performance in Kiev behind them. Le Havre tested Mickaël Landreau's shaky confidence early on, but weren't much of a threat for the rest of the game, though it took until four minutes before the break for Ludo Giuly to break the deadlock. The floodgates duly opened and Jérôme Rothen added a second on the end of a great move initiated by Cyril Armand and involving Giuly and Guillaume Hoarau. Hoarau finished off an emphatic win himself in stoppage time. More trouble for Toulouse on their travels as they went down in Grenoble. Laurent Courtois converted a 40th minute penalty, all but finishing Les Violets' title chances. Lille's outside chances also took a battering as they lost to St Etienne who were desperate for points in their efforts to stay up. Bafetimbi Gomis has been the bete noir of Les Verts fans this season as he suffers from second season syndrome, but he grabbed what turned out to be the winner. Araujo Ilan blasted the first in from the edge of the box after good work from Gomis and the latter fired in Kevin Mirallas's cross for a second. Nicolas Fauverge headed home with 18 minutes remaining to ensure a nervy finish, but St Etienne hung on for a vital win.

    Nancy and Nantes both grabbed important victories down at the bottom, heaping pressure on Sochaux and Caen and Valenciennes are suddenly back in the picture. Nancy's win over Caen was probably the biggest result down that end of the table, Youssouf Hadji putting Nancy ahead on two minutes. On the stroke of half-time, Caen levelled it through Sambou Yatabaré, the midfielder swooping on a loose clearance. With chances at both ends, Nancy won it five from time when Geoffrey Adjet pounced to secure the points. Nantes went in front at home to Nice through Christian Bekamenga who volleyed home on 18 minutes. When Nice's Gérald Cid was sent off eleven minutes after the break, it seemed straightforward for Nantes to close it out and they duly added a second and Mamadou Bagayoko it was who tapped home from close range. Sochaux's recent revival was ended by Thomas Kahlenberg four minutes from time as Auxerre won it and Valenciennes are back in the relegation picture after a defeat to Le Mans who help themselves out of it. Second half goals from Grégory Cerdan and Anthony Le Tallec did it.

    In the middle of the table, Monaco scored yet another win which all but ended Rennes's hopes of European football. It all happened late on, Jerko Leko's penalty with 18 minutes to go opened the scoring before three goals went in in the last five minutes. Juan Pablo Pino got two of them for the Monagasques either side of Bruno Cheyrou's free-kick.

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