• Monday, 6 April 2009

    A picture waiting to develop: Ligue 1 reviews

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

    Wins for the top five leave things as they were in Ligue 1 with just a handful of games remaining. Lyon's comfortable win on Saturday heaped pressure on Marseille to respond on Sunday as the top two remain just a point apart. Karim Benzema had been on a long run of games without a goal with a double, adding to Jean-Alain Boumsong's opener, which rendered Anthony Le Tallec's late goal nothing more than consolation. That meant Marseille had to go to St Etienne and get something out of it to remain in touch and they did with comparative ease. After turning round at 0-0, Marseille utterly dominated the second half and got going with a Mamadou Niang penalty on the hour, the Senegalese drawing the foul in the first place and firing home from the spot. Brandao continues to adapt to the French league and added the second, heading in Benoit Cheyrou's cross from close range before Niang wrapped it up with his second, also a close range header. Bordeaux remain third after a 1-0 win over struggling Nancy, Marouane Chamakh with the only goal of the game coming two minutes from time. Lille continued their good form beating lowly Nantes and it won't come as any sort of surprise that Michel Bastos - from the penalty spot - and Robert Vittek got the goals and PSG also won, beating Nice. Guillaume Hoarau put the Parisians one up before Loic Remy equalised quarter of an hour later. Sammy Traore headed in Stephane Sessengnon's corner early in the second half and that proved the winner.

    It was Toulouse that were the ones to slip up, failing to break down a determined Caen rearguard. As so often, Les Violets didn't create much away from home and the point is far more use to Caen than it is Toulouse. That point leaves them just one behind St Etienne and only two from safety. Sochaux, meanwhile, stuffed Rennes 3-0 to pull well clear of the bottom three. Stephane Dalmat captained the side despite being charged with assaulting a police officer in the week, but there were no signs of any disruption as first half goals from Ryad Boudebouz - a penalty - and Mevlut Erding set them on their way against a Rennes side without main striker Jimmy Briand who was injured while with the national side. Erding's replacement, Vaclav Sverkos, added a third late on as Sochaux moved up the table and out of immediate trouble.

    On the northern coast, Le Havre fans may be thinking that miracles are possible after they beat a sorry Monaco side 1-0. They're still nine points from safety, but Massamba Lo Sambou's goal from Hassane Alla's corner was enough to beat a dispirited looking Monaco who finished with ten men when Dario Simic was dismissed late on follwing a second caution. Grenoble's revival took a hit with a big loss at home to Lorient despite dominating possession. Valenciennes pulled to within a point of Auxerre by beating them 2-0 with Jean-Claude Darcheville getting both. He opened the scoring barely seconds into the contest, firing low into the corner from close range, and made the game safe in the 70th minute with a penalty following a needless handball from Kevin Lejeune.

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