Bordeaux sound the charge
Laurent Blanc's Bordeaux thumped four unanswered goals past Paris on Sunday night to go within one point of top spot on the table, giving faltering champions Lyon serious cause for concern in the race for the title.
21:00 - FC Girondins de Bordeaux / Paris Saint-Germain
Bordeaux bounced back from the French Cup elimination at the hands of Saint-Etienne last week with a stunning display at home to Paris Saint-Germain. Les Girondins dominated the men from the capital in every department to notch their best performance of the season so far, rubber-stamping their title aspirations by taking sole command of second place on the table.
Bordeaux had been criticised earlier in the season for not performing against the big clubs, but on Sunday night any such commentary was out of the question. Laurent Blanc's men stamped their authority on the match from the beginning, playing a technically inspired brand of passing football that left Paris little room to breathe let alone attack.
As early as the 11th minute, Bordeaux took the lead when Souleymane Diawara evaded the attentions of Stéphane Sessegnon to nod Yoann Gourcuff's pinpoint free-kick past PSG 'keeper Mickaël Landreau.
Argentine goal machine Fernando Cavenaghi, voted in December as Ligue 1's best foreign player, narrowly missed a similar opportunity two minutes later before cropping up in the 35th minute to curl a left-footed shot past Landreau after being put clean through by Mathieu Chalmé. The strike takes Cavenaghi equal with Toulouse's André-Pierre Gignac at the top of the scorers charts with 12 league goals this season.
While it seemed impossible that Bordeaux could maintain the breakneck pace in the second half, Blanc's men proved their adaptability, drawing Paris out and then containing their attacks with a superb defensive display, notably quashing the few chances PSG had through Guillaume Hoarau, Ludovic Giuly and Sessegnon.
Goal of the season contender
In the 71st minute however, Bordeaux stepped back onto the front foot through France midfield prodigy Gourcuff, who sent the Stade Chaban-Delmas faithful into delirium with a stunning piece of individual brilliance.
Gourcuff received the ball on the edge of the area with his back to goal, and with four magical touches (including a reverse roulette that will doubtless draw yet another volley of Zidane comparisons) turned the Paris defence inside out before slamming a shot past Landreau and into the far corner of the Paris goal.
Bordeaux added yet another two minutes from time when Paris captain Claude Makelele misjudged a seemingly innocuous cross to allow Fernando to shoot into an open goal, but by this stage the match was already over as a contest.
Bordeaux's sumptuous performance puts them in sole command of second place and well and truly in the box seat among the sides jostling to challenge Lyon for the championship title they have made their own for the past seven seasons. With Bordeaux's attack now equal top in Ligue 1 alongside Marseille and with four league wins in a row under their belt, Les Girondins have sounded the charge for their assault on the title.
The loss, which sees Paris slip to sixth place, is a serious blow for Paul Le Guen's men, whose impressive trajectory in the first half of the season had seen them find some consistency and solidity to climb as high as fourth place going into the winter break.