• Monday, 20 September 2010

    Contrasting fortunes for near neighbours: Ligue 1 reviews

    Lorient 0-1 Caen
    Monaco 0-0 Toulouse
    Nancy 0-2 Brest
    St Etienne 3-0 Montpellier
    Sochaux 4-0 Nice
    Valenciennes 1-1 Lens
    Arles 0-3 Marseille
    Lille 1-0 Auxerre
    PSG 0-0 Rennes
    Bordeaux 2-0 Lyon

    It's been 29 years since St Etienne lifted the last of their ten Ligue 1 championships. Ask anyone under the age of 30 who are the big dogs, you're more than likely to get the response 'Lyon'. Understandable really, given the way Les Gones have dominated things over the last ten years in which they've won it seven times. The balance of power was shifting 60km up the A47. Could it be that it's now shifting back? Lyon were beaten again, a morale boosting and possibly job saving win for Jean Tigana's Bordeaux. The opener came an hour in, Alou Diarra getting the faintest of touches onto a free-kick which took it past Hugo Lloris and just inside the far post. Jussie sealed it in the last minute, latching onto Lloris's clearance and weaving his way past three defenders before sticking it past France's number one. That leaves Lyon out of the drop zone on goal difference alone while their near neighbours, who have been in relegation bother far too often in recent seasons, sit at the top after a big win over Montpellier. Dimitri Payet got two, the first coming twenty minutes in after a weaving run took him right through the defence. Ten minutes later, Emmanuel Riviere headed in for 2-0 slightly unconvincingly which made the back-flip celebration look a bit OTT. Payet's second was a stunning free-kick. It might be getting ahead of things, but Les Verts fans are getting confident.

    Marseille duly beat managerless Arles to move into the top half. Benoit Cheyrou got the opener just after the half hour at Parc des Sports direct from a long range free-kick, the keeper deceived by Gabriel Heinze's run across the front of goal. Andre Ayew made it two moments later, played in by Fabrice Abriel, and a second from Ayew early in the second half wrapped it up, profiting from some terrible defending. Auxerre are the only other side without a win, albeit they're four points clear of Arles despite defeat to Lille. AJA had the better of the first half, but Lille came back into it in the second and won it through Moussa Sow in stoppage time. The Human Centipede celebration perhaps a sign of relief more than an homage to that particular film.

    Toulouse slip to second after a goalless draw with Monaco, Alain Casanova's plan to go in without any strikers or anyone who can even masquerade as one blowing up in his face. Rennes couldn't take advantage as they too drew 0-0 with PSG, but Caen move back up to fourth after getting back to winning ways at Lorient, Youssef El Arabi with the only goal of the game just before the break. Sochaux were the big winners with a four-goal thumping of Nice. Sochaux dominated and particularly exploited Nice's right-hand side defence. Time and again FCSM broke down that side, but it took until the last minute of the first half to pay dividends, Ideye Brown finally able to convert one of the string of chances. Twenty minutes in to the second half, another attack down Sochaux's left saw Ryad Boudebouz meet a perfect cross to volley in for number two. The third was a bit more route one, Marvin Martin with looping shot over the keeper, and Modibo Maiga added a fourth in the last minute as Nice gave up all pretence of defending. Brest are up to eleventh after a 2-0 win over Nancy, Larsen Touré sealing the points with a late, angled strike across goal while Lens needed a stoppage time equaliser to rescue a point from their game at Valenciennes. Route one worked for VA ten minutes into the second half, Mamadou Samassa half-volleying a deep cross low to the keeper's left, but Abdoulrazak Boukari somehow found a way through a forest of legs from a free-kick that was squared to him in the first added minute.

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