• Thursday, 8 April 2010

    Marseille emerge from the shadows: Ligue 1 reviews

    Ligue 1 has been like a 400m race this season. With a number of factors - terrible weather, mainly - contributing to a number of postponements which hasn't given the table a stable look. Now, however, we're at the top of the final bend and it's all beginning to unwind.

    Lyon 2-0 Grenoble
    Nancy 5-1 Lens
    Le Mans 1-3 Rennes
    Lorient 4-0 St Etienne
    PSG 3-0 Boulogne
    Toulouse 0-2 Nice
    Lille 4-1 Montpellier
    Monaco 0-0 Auxerre

    With Bordeaux not in action, here was Montpellier's chance to seize the initiative. Lille had other ideas and blew them off the Metropole park. Gervinho put LOSC in front in the first half, but Souleymane Camara equalised a minute after the break. Quickfire goals from Yohan Cabaye - a penalty - and Pierre-Alain Frau broke the southerners and Larsen Touré wrapped it up. Lyon assumed the position by beating ten-man Grenoble, Bostjan Cesar sent off in between goals from Michel Bastos and César Delgado. That sent them top as Auxerre could only muster a goalless draw with Monaco, a result which rules them out of the title, according to manager Juan Fernandez.

    The bottom three look dead and buried now. Le Mans copped a beating at home from Rennes, Jimmy Briand getting two in a 3-1 win, and ten-man Boulogne went down hard to PSG. St Etienne look out of range even though they also lost heavily, Kevin Gameiro getting two as Lorient ran out 4-0 winners. There were goals elsewhere as Issiar Dia's hat-trick helped Nancy to a big win over Lens and ten-man Toulouse went down at home to Nice.

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

    Bordeaux were back in action, but lost at home to Nancy, that man Issiar Dia with the winner after Fernando Cavenaghi had equalised Youssouf Hadji's opener. Montpellier were held 0-0 by Monaco, Auxerre also drew, 1-1 with PSG, and Lille went down by a single goal to Valenciennes, so Lyon's win at Rennes consolidated their top spot for a time. Asamoah Gyan put Rennes ahead, but Michel Bastos and Lisandro Lopez struck in the second half to seal the points. But hang on. What's this coming up in the rails? Why it's Marseille and they've a real head of steam up. They beat Lens at the Vélodrome, Brandao with the goal and they hung on after Stephane Mbia was sent off, and in midweek finally played a rearranged game against Sochaux where they blew their opponents off the park. Gabriel Heinze had them in front inside ten minutes and Hatem Ben Arfa's penalty made it two before the break. Bakari Koné wrapped it up late on and Marseille now sit atop the league. The top five are covered by just three points though, and Bordeaux have played 29 times to Marseille's 30 and everybody else's 31.

    One more defeat and Grenoble are officially down. Nassim Akrour gave the long suffering GF38 fans the illusion of hope in the third minute against Lorient, but they soon reverted to type. Kevin Gameiro equalised before the break and James Fanchone won it with five minutes to go. Daniel Braathen's late equaliser denied Boulogne a rare win while Le Mans went down to St Etienne. Cedric Varrault and Yohan Benaloaune got the goals, but Kevin Mirallas was sent off late on which may yet hurt Les Verts' chances of survival. Nice got a point from a draw with Sochaux, all but sealing the Ligue 1 status of both clubs for next season.

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