• Sunday, 15 August 2010

    Marseille go down again: Ligue 1 reviews

    Monaco P-P Montpellier
    Nancy 0-3 Rennes
    Brest 1-1 Auxerre
    Lorient 1-2 Nice
    St Etienne 3-2 Sochaux
    Valenciennes 3-2 Marseille
    Arles 0-1 Lens
    Bordeaux 1-2 Toulouse
    Caen 3-2 Lyon
    Lille 0-0 PSG

    Two games in is a bit early to use the term crisis, but things are looking a bit murky in Marseille. Captain Mamadou Niang finally got his move and will join Fenerbahce in the week while Hatem Ben Arfa has been angling for a move to Newcastle all summer long and is now threatening to go on strike. Niang leaves on a low note, subbed off after 57 minutes against Valenciennes by which point OM were already two down. Niang blew the best chance of the first half, tripping over the ball when one-on-one with the keeper, as the first 45 ended goalless. Two minutes after the restart, VA were ahead as Gael Danic fired in from close range as OM failed to clear. Six minutes later, Gregory Pujol made it two. A throw-in was flicked on and Pujol nodded it over Steve Mandanda and he made it a scarcely believable 3-0 nine minutes later, Gaetan Bong playing him in to side-foot home, unmarked, from about three feet. The Nungesser crowd was going wild, but OM made it a nervy finish with two late goals. Andre Ayew was brought down by the keeper with eight minutes to go and Taye Taiwo stepped up to stroke the penalty home. And it was Ayew who pulled another back, firing a low shot through a forest of legs with a couple of minutes to go, but VA held on for a deserved win.

    Auxerre drew their second straight game, Benoit Pedretti rescuing a point with a late leveller against Brest who had the better of the opening exchanges and were ahead on 26 minutes with Nolan Roux heading in a deep free-kick. With time running out, Pedretti swung in a corner that evaded everyone and found it's way into the back of the net. Toulouse saw off near neighbours Bordeaux in the rain at the Chaban Delmas. Daniel Braaten, playing as a striker in the absence of André-Pierre Gignac and Xavier Pentecote, stabbed the opener home seconds from half time. Jaroslav Plasil equalised with one of those dinks between his own legs to convert Fernando Cavenaghi's cross, but Etienne Didot won it for Les Violets with a move off the training ground. A free-kick was taken short to Didot, completely out-foxing the Bordeaux defence and he finished it to send TFC top. Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon are all in the bottom five while joining TFC on six points and topping the table are promoted Caen who came up with their second shock win of the season by defeating the giants of Lyon. In just the second minute they were ahead thanks to a lovely chipped finish from Youssef El Arabi as the Lyon defence was split open like an over-ripe watermelon. Bafetimbi Gomis stabbed home the equaliser four minutes later from a suspiciously offside position, but Caen restored the lead ten minutes later through Sambou Yatabaré. Gomis equalised again midway through the first half, but as the half drew to a close, Lyon's Anthony Reveillere was sent off. In his absence, Ismaila N'Diaye headed in a winner with 13 minutes left from a well-worked set piece.

    St Etienne almost blew three points in spectacular style despite going 3-0 up with 25 minutes to go. The first came in the sixth minute, Boubacar Sanogo with a flying volley, before a Loic Perrin double early in the second half looked to have been enough. His first came at the second attempt, a header coming back to him off the bar which he had a second nod at to double the lead. He volleyed in moments later for 3-0, but within a couple of minutes, Sochaux were back within one. Ryad Boudebouz pulled the first one back with a shot from way downtown which moved in three different directions to deceive Jérémie Janot. A minute later it was 3-2, Marvin Martin side-footing in from the edge of the box, but Les Verts held out. Arles went down at home to Lens, just the one goal enough - a route one affair ending with David Pollet's header. Nice grabbed a vital three points, Loic Remy with the winner. He's so important to them and his impending departure will hurt the club. Lorient were in front early through Yoan Jouffre, but the lead lasted barely a minute, Ismael Gace heading in at the near post. With twenty minutes left, a free-kick was kept in the danger area by Nice and Remy nodded it in under no pressure at the back post. Rennes saw off ten man Nancy with some ease. Alfred Ndiaye was sent off in the 13th minute, a professional foul as last man back after he'd been caught in possession on the edge of his own penalty area. Though his side held out to half-time with no damage, the second half was all Rennes and Victor Montano put them in front five minutes after the break and he turned provider ten minutes later, pulling the ball back to Yacine Brahimi to power it home from the edge of the box. With three minutes to go, Ismael Bangoura wrapped it up as Rennes broke at pace, a long, early through ball leaving him one-on-one with the keeper and he slipped it past him and in for 3-0.

    No goals in the northern derby between PSG and Lille, though Nene went ... this close to winning it late on, while torrential rain in the south of the country accounted for Monaco's home game with Montpellier, the Stade Louis II surface waterlogged. They'll try again on Tuesday.

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