Matchday 3 - Wednesday Review
Le Mans continue their impressive run at the top of the table with a win over Bordeaux. Lorient meanwhile overturn PSG with Rennes, Strasbourg and Monaco also proving victorious. Lille's game with Sochaux ends in a draw.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
An early goal from the Swede Petter Hansson secured all three points for Rennes as Pierre Dréossi's side claimed their first win of the season at home to Saint-Etienne. Hansson, who made the move from Heerenveen late last season, struck after just three minutes firing a low shot past Jeremie Janot for his first goal with his new club.
Saint-Etienne struggled to make an impression against an enthusiastic Rennes side eager to make amends for a defeat on the opening day of the season and a 0-0 draw with Marseille on Saturday. Indeed, the ASSE fans had to wait 17 minutes before their team had a serious effort on goal, Fredy Guarin forcing Simon Pouplin into a save from 25 yards.
Rennes' Swedish defender Petter Hansson
Ex-Marseille forward Mickael Pagis came close on 19 minutes before, at the other end, Rudolphe Douala whipped a shot inches past Pouplin's post.
The second-half began with Pascal Feindouno nearly grabbing an equaliser for the visitors only for the Rennes 'keeper to palm away his swerving effort. As both sides exchanged half-chances Rennes nearly wrapped up the three points when Nivaldo lost the ball to Jerome Leroy on the edge of the area who subsequently missed the goal with his effort.
Hansson's early strike though was enough as Rennes celebrated their first win in four seasons at home to Saint-Etienne.
Le Mans 2
De Melo 48, Grafite 72
With both Bordeaux and Le Mans having secured maximum points this season with two wins out of two, the Stade Chaban Delmas was the setting for a pulsating encounter which did not disappoint.
Within three minutes of the start, Le Mans had given Ulrich Ramé in the Girondins goal a real scare with a 30-metre strike, Ndri Romaric shooting narrowly past the Frenchman's upright. Moments later and the visitors had the ball in the back of the net only for the referee to disallow the goal for a foul on Ramé from Tulio de Melo.
As the action swung from end to end, Bordeaux took the lead, summer signing David Bellion scoring his second goal in Girondins colours with a perfect lob over Yohann Pele in the 13th minute.
Tulio De Melo
Ten minutes later though and Bordeaux were reduced to ten men after Ramé was forced to bring down Mamadou Samassa in the area to avoid conceding an equaliser. The veteran's replacement, Mathieu Valverde, was brought into action early on with a save from a Romaric free-kick soon after. The youngster and his nine colleagues managed to hold on until half-time but it wasn't long into the second-half before the visitors had brought themselves back into the game.
A mistake from Souleymane Diawara let in hat-trick hero from the weekend De Melo and the Brazilian did not let up an opportunity to score his fourth goal of the season volleying a great effort past the helpless Valverde. The Argentine Alejandro Alonso then went close for Bordeaux but the eleven men of Le Mans completed an excellent comeback win with a goal 18 minutes from time, another Brazilian, Grafite, sliding in the winner.
Renteria 24, 67, Gameiro 86
Strasbourg earned their first win since returning to Ligue 1 with a sensational 3-0 triumph over beleaguered Auxerre.
Jean-Marc Furlan's hosts produced a fabulous attacking display that left the visitors' defence in tatters, and underlined the fact that this could be a long and very difficult season for Jean Fernandez's Burgundy-based side.
Strasbourg now have a more than respectable tally of four points, whereas the visitors are rooted to the foot of the table with no points, no goals and seven conceded. Clearly the sales of Bakary Sagna (Arsenal), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham), Benoit Cheyrou (Marseille) and Kanga Akale (Lens) have left Auxerre desperately short.
Man of the night was Wason Renteria, the 22-year-old Colombian striker who arrived on loan at Strasbourg from FC Porto in the summer. He made little impact in Strasbourg's first two matches of the season but grabbed two goals here to indicate that he could be the goalscorer Furlan was looking for all summer.
Renteria grabbed his first on 23 minutes when he met Yacine Abdessadki's cross with a perfectly-timed header. The move came following brilliant work by midfielder Renaud Cohade, who won the ball in midfield before setting Abdessadki on his way. Auxerre had their chances, Daniel Niculae seeing Habib Bellaid clear one of his shots off the line, but Strasbourg stayed mainly in control.
Thomas Kahlenberg also came close but Strasbourg looked dangerous with every attack and grabbed their second when Renteria, judged to be standing in a passive offside position, picked up a pass and slotted the ball home past Sorin.
Auxerre's frantic final attacks left further spaces at the back and substitute Kevin Gameiro rounded off a fantastic night for the newly-promoted side when he sped past defender Marcos Antonio and slammed the ball home to make it three.
Modesto 30, Piquionne 85
Monaco grabbed their first win of the season and condemned Metz to further trouble at the foot of the table with this comfortable 2-0 win at Stade Louis II.
New Monaco coach Ricardo was heavily criticised after Monaco's 2-1 defeat to Lorient on Saturday but Uruguay international Diego Perez returned to restore some steel to midfield and Monaco's attack looked a lot more fluent as they put the visitors under pressure for much of the match.
The first goal came from an unlikely source, though, defender Francis Modesto giving the hosts the lead on the half-hour mark when Jaroslav Plasil's free-kick picked him out and he headed home past goalkeeper Christophe Marichez.
Monaco remained effortlessly in control and nearly doubled their advantage after the break when winger Jeremy Menez went on a fabulous run, beating almost the entire Metz defence only for Stephane Leoni to clear off the line. The exciting former Sochaux man came close again minutes later. Monaco looked likely to score every time they moved forward.
The hosts had to wait until five minutes before time to double their advantage and it came when Argentina right-back Leandro Cufre crossed and Frederic Piquionne met the ball perfectly to place past Marichez.
This result will be a huge fillip for Monaco but Metz have suffered three straight defeats. They may have been promoted as last season's Ligue 2 champions but coach Francis De Taddeo had difficulty strengthening his squad during the close season and it looks as though the new boys could be caught up in a relegation battle all season.
Frederic Hantz restored some pride with this 1-1 draw at Lille that will go some way towards easing the memories of Sochaux's calamitous 3-1 home defeat to Le Mans at the weekend.
Former Le Mans boss Hantz took the weekend defeat particularly badly but Sochaux produced a far more professional performance to earn a deserved point here at Stadium Metropole.
Lille went ahead on 26 minutes when Stephane Dumont took advantage of some slack marking in the box to beat Teddy Richert from close range. Dumont nearly doubled the lead on 38 minutes but this time Richert deflected the danger, and then totally against the run of play the visitors grabbed an equaliser in injury-time at the end of the first-half. Normally reliable Lille centre-back Nicolas Plestan failed to clear his lines properly and Stephane Dalmat swooped with a vicious left-foot drive that gave Lille goalkeeper Tony Sylva no chance.
Former Spurs man Dalmat came close to putting Sochaux ahead in the second-half when Badara Sene touched a free-kick to him and the summer signing drove another powerful shot goalwards but Sylva was equal to the challenge this time. As the half wore on both teams seemed content to settle for a draw but Ludovic Obraniak nearly stole all three points for the hosts when he forced a save from Richert and the ball broke loose but Sochaux's defence cleared the danger.
Lille remain unbeaten with one win and two draws giving them five points while Sochaux are still winless on two points.
Vahirua 67, 74, Saifi 90 (pen)
PSG slumped to their first defeat of the season, a campaign in which they are yet to win, as Lorient stunned a packed Parc des Princes crowd with a 3-1 comeback win
The capital club had taken the lead through the veteran Pauleta, the Portuguese frontman scoring his 96th goal for PSG - four short of Dominique Rocheteau's all-time club record of 100 - before Marama Vahirua struck twice in seven second-half minutes to kick-start an unlikely comeback for les Merlus. Rafik Saifi completed the rout with a 90th minute penalty as PSG were left shellshocked.
Interestingly, PSG have now won only one of their past four league encounters with Lorient in the capital. It is a statistic which Paul Le Guen will want to forget as he prepares his team next for the visit to Metz on Saturday.
For Lorient, the only way is up as Christian Gourcuff's side now lie in second, two points behind all-conquering Le Mans.