Teams were scrambling for points all weekend as crunch time approaches in Ligue 1. The title picture is still no closer to conclusion whilst the relegation battle is still wide open, with just four points separating 11th from 19th.
Brest battled Rennes in a Breton derby to begin the weekend. A penalty from Julien Feret was enough to seal the points for Rennes.
St Etienne thrashed Caen 4-1 away from home to put themselves firmly in the hunt for Europe next season. Caen defender Aurelien Montaroup had St Etienne ahead just before half-time after an own goal. St Etienne put the psychological advantage to good use in the second half by extending their lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Max Gradel. Livio Nabab pulled a goal back for Caen but it was game over when Aubameyang grabbed his second towards the end of the match.
Dijon were defeated 2-0 at home by Lille, who looked to tighten their grip on the final Champions League spot. It was a rather heated confrontation throughout with midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye being shown a straight red card in the first half. Lille put this behind them when Rio Mavuba struck three minutes after the incident. Eden Hazard then doubled the advantage.
Dijon’s attempt at a fightback suffered a setback when former Bolton and West Brom defender Abdoulaye Meite was sent off early in the second half. Things went from bad to worse for Dijon when Bennard Yao Kumordzi was also sent off late in the game.
Toulouse were unable to maintain the momentum gained in last week’s win over Lyon as they were defeated 2-1 away to Evian. Aldo Angoula had the home side ahead within the opening ten minutes, a lead which lasted until 21 year-old midfielder Wissam Ben Yedder struck midway through the second half. Evian were in front immediately after thanks to an own goal by Toulouse’s Aymen Abdennour handed the victory to Evian.
Montpellier hung onto their place at the top of the table with a narrow victory over Valenciennes. Souleymane Camara struck the only goal of the game within five minutes to ensure that Montpellier’s hunt for a Ligue 1 title is far from over.
Nice were also 1-0 winners over struggling Auxerre. A penalty just after the half-hour mark from Luciano Monzon pushed his side further towards the middle of the Ligue 1 table. The action turned rather sour for Auxerre as two of their players, Dennis Oliech and Wily Boly, were given their marching orders either side of half time.
Bordeaux defeated lacklustre Marseille 2-1 in an entertaining fixture. Bordeaux were ahead within the first minute when Jussie hit the back of the net. Jussie then doubled Bordeaux’s advantage before the half-hour mark. Jordan Ayew pulled one back for Marseille in the second half but they were unable to push on for a winner. Marseille slip to 10th in the table and could continue their descent into the bottom half with a loss next week.
Sunday’s fixture list opened on a low note as Ajaccio and Nancy played to a goalless draw. Ajaccio are still flirting with relegation whilst Nancy look to be home and dry in 11th at the moment.
Paris Saint-Germain crushed Sochaux 6-1 to make up for the lack of goals in the previous fixture. Javier Pastore struck within five minutes to give PSG the lead but Modibo Maiga helped Sochaux pull level not long after. Thiago Motta and Jeremy Menez struck to put PSG ahead by half time. From there, it was really a case of damage limitation for Sochaux as PSG continued to hit the back of the net. A double from Nene in quick succession had PSG further in front but a late goal from Sylvain Armand ensured that Sochaux’s fight for relegation is made even tougher as the club now sit on a goal difference of -20.
The weekend’s final fixture saw Lyon take on Lorient at the Stade de Gerland. Lyon pushed early in the match but were unable to open the score. Lorient took advantage and Kévin Monnet-Pacquet and Mathias Autret had Lorient 2-0 up after just over twenty minutes on the clock.
Lyon were able to reply when veteran Brazilian defender Cris pulled a goal back. Throughout the second half, Lyon pushed for an equaliser and managed to draw level when Lisandro López guided his shot into the net. Lyon’s comeback from 2-0 down was fully completed when Bafétimbi Gomis put the home side ahead late in the game.
Brest 0-1 Rennes; Caen 1-4 St Etienne; Dijon 0-2 Lille; Evian 2-1 Toulouse; Montpellier 1-0 Valenciennes; Nice 1-0 Auxerre; Bordeaux 2-1 Marseille; Ajaccio 0-0 Nancy; PSG 6-1 Sochaux; Lyon 3-2 Lorient
Good week – Lille: With a 2-0 victory over Dijon, they maintain a strong grip on the 3rd Champions League spot. Despite a growing chasing pack in the closing stages of Ligue 1.
Bad week – Auxerre: With the club suffering yet another defeat, it looks like relegation looms. This side participated in the Champions League just two seasons ago.
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