Yet more twists and turns in Ligue 1 this weekend as the gap between the teams at the top closed even further and a new team entered the relegation zone.
Montpellier still sit top of the table and have a game in hand over second-placed PSG, though the teams are level on points at the summit.
Ajaccio managed a 1-1 draw at home to Europe-chasing St Etienne. The game’s first goal had a European theme as journeyman Florent Sinama-Pongolle, who has played in five European leagues so far in his career, opened the scoring for St Etienne.
The lead did not last long, however, as French-born Algerian defender Carl Medjani equalised just six minutes later.
Lille’s performances of late have ensured that they are still in the hunt for a successful title defence this year. Their fortunes, however, faded in a 3-1 defeat at Brest. Brest were 2-0 up in under 10 minutes when defender Omar Daf found the back of the net and Bruno Grougi converted a penalty.
Lille were back in the game just before the half-hour mark when Dimitri Payet struck his third goal in as many league games. Brest piled the misery onto hapless Lille as Alexandre Alphonse added Brest’s third.
Nolan Roux was brought on as a substitute for Lille in a return to his former club before Lille forward Tulio de Melo was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Nancy recorded their 4th straight victory as they won 2-0 away to Dijon. Midfielder Bakaye Traoré doubled his overall tally for the season with the two important goals to seal the points for Nancy.
Rennes looked impressive in a 3-1 victory over Evian. Evian struck first when veteran midfielder and former Rennes player Jerome Leroy found the back of the net in the first half. Rennes came out fighting in the second half and equalised through Youssouf Hadji.
Just as things looked like they were heading for a draw, two late goals from Jonathan Pitroipa and Mevlut Erding saw the three points go to Rennes. This victory sees them leapfrog St Etienne into 6th place.
Montpellier’s title aspirations were given a huge boost as they won 2-1 at home to struggling Sochaux. Younes Belhanda opened the scoring after just four minutes to give Montpellier the lead. Former Newcastle United target Modibo Maiga equalised just before the half-hour mark, a goal which saw the sides level at half time.
Souleymane Camara wrapped up the win for Montpellier with a second-half strike. Montpellier still have a game in hand over second-placed PSG.
Valenciennes won 2-0 against Toulouse. With the game heading to half time tied at 0-0, Toulouse’s task was made even harder as Franck Tabanou was shown a straight red card just before the half time whistle.
Valenciennes used the extra man to their advantage as Gael Danic found the back of the net in the second half before a late Mamadou Samassa penalty guaranteed the win for the home side.
The late fixture on Saturday saw Lyon winning ugly to raise their hopes of a Champions League spot for next season. Alain Traoré’s strike late in the first half was split by two Lisandro López penalties as Lyon moved within three points of Lille, who currently sit in the third and final Champions League spot in Ligue 1.
Sunday’s matches kicked off with Caen securing a narrow but vital victory over Bordeaux. Caen captain Nicolas Seube scored his first league goal in over a year for the club after just two minutes played.
Fortunarely for Caen, Bordeaux had no reply and they manage a win which sees them jump out of the relegation zone to 16th place in the table.
Lorient’s 2-0 defeat against Nice saw them move into the relegation zone. Second half goals from Anthony Mounier and Renato Civelli ensured a painful afternoon for Lorient, a nightmare which was made worse by the sending off of Togolese midfielder Alaixys Romao late in the match.
The weekend’s final match was “Le Classique” between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille. With neither side on a particularly inspiring run of form, the match only sparked into life in the second half. Jeremy Menez opened the scoring after just six minutes as heavy challenges flew in thick and fast.
André Ayew equalised with a headed shot on the hour mark before former Chelsea defender Alex put PSG back in front two minutes later with a header of his own.
Following a number of dubious challenges throughout the game, Momo Sissoko finally received a red card late in the game. PSG won the match but Marseille extend their bad run of form with this defeat making it 11 games without a win.
Ajaccio 1-1 St Etienne; Brest 3-1 Lille; Dijon 0-2 Nancy; Evian 1-3 Rennes; Montpellier 2-1 Sochaux; Valenciennes 2-0 Toulouse; Lyon 2-1 Auxerre; Caen 1-0 Bordeaux; Nice 2-0 Lorient
Good week – Lyon: Lille’s loss coupled with Lyon’s win means that a Champions League spacing is still within reach for the former champions. Even though they won in very ugly fashion, the win sees them close the gap on 3rd place.
Bad week – Marseille: Some sections of the media are now calling Marseille’s current situation a “crisis” due to the terrible run of form the club are on at the moment. It has to be said that this is not good enough for a club of their stature.
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