Matchday 34: Saturday round-up
Mathieu Bodmer (left) was on the scoresheet to help Lyon take a giant step towards the title with a victory at Strasbourg (2-1) but PSG's woes continue with a 3-0 defeat, at Caen. Nancy slip at home to Le Mans (1-1) while Monaco beat Nice 2-0 in the Riviera derby, and Lens ease past Sochaux 3-2 to see daylight at the bottom.
Saturday 19 April 2008
Bodmer 62, Grosso 68
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Lyon came from behind thanks to two goals in the second-half to beat 10-man Strasbourg 2-1 and keep their title bid on track.
Mathieu Bodmer and Fabio Grosso - with his first Ligue 1 goal for the club - were the unlikely scorers as Alain Perrin's side survived a first-half scare to come away with three points. The result leaves them seven points clear of second-placed Bordeaux, who travel to Toulouse for the south-west derby on Sunday evening.
This was Strasbourg's seventh straight defeat and leaves their chances of avoiding relegation look increasingly slim. They lie 19th on 35 points, three points from safety and with inferior goal difference to most of their rivals.
Yet the hosts made the perfect start when Wason Renteria put them ahead. |The goal came about when midfielder Pascal Johansen latched on to a poorly-cleared corner and his cross was headed home by the Colombia international for his ninth goal of the season.
The turning point came just before half-time when Strasbourg winger Eric Mouloungui was sent off for receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Grosso. That handed Lyon the initiative in the second-half, and the champions accepted.
They had already hit the post via Hatem Ben Arfa before Bodmer equalised 17 minutes after the restart. It was the big midfielder's sixth goal of the season as he headed home a Kader Keita corner. Six minutes later Lyon went ahead - and Keita was the provider from a corner again, this time Grosso rising highest to nod home. Lyon held on to take a massive step towards the title.
Le Mans 1
Le Tallec 51
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Nancy's Champions League hopes suffered a blow as they drew 1-1 against Le Mans at Stade Marcel-Picot.
Pablo Correa's hosts needed a win to pile the pressure on Marseille before their rivals' match against Lille on Sunday but were unable to take second-half chances. As a result they have given Marseille the opportunity to move two points clear into third place should l'OM win tomorrow.
It could have been worse for Nancy as Le Mans took the lead. Following a dour first-half in which neither side created clear opportunities, the visitors struck six minutes after the restart following a quick break. Jean Calve's through pass found Anthony Le Tallec and the former Liverpool striker finished for his second goal in as many games.
Nancy knew they had to improve and did so, getting their reward when Marc-Antoine Fortune equalised 17 minutes later. The big centre-forward rose to head home David Sauget's cross to claim his fifth Ligue 1 goal of the season.
Nancy remain unbeaten at home this season - 12 wins and five draws - but a point here may eventually not be enough in their quest to qualify for Europe's premier club competition for the first time in their history.
St Etienne 1
Jallet 51 (own goal)
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St Etienne stay fifth in Ligue 1 after a hard-fought win over Lorient at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. The victory, their fourth in a six-match unbeaten run, maintains their hopes of European football next season.
Given Lorient's abysmal away record, just two wins on the road in 16 attempts, it was little surprise that the first half was a dour affair during which both goalkeepers were mere spectators. But after stern words from the manager, the home side were first out of the blocks in the second period and within seconds of the restart livewire striker Bafetimbi Gomis almost opened the scoring. His deft lob just drifted over the crossbar with goalkeeper Fabien Audard well beaten.
They'd escaped this time, but Lorient's relief was short-lived; just moments later St Etienne make the breakthrough, and yet again it was Gomis who provided the spark.
The 22-year-old dribbled past five Lorient players before feeding Dimitri Payet on the right. His shot was fumbled by Audard and the unfortunate Christophe Jallet could only help the ball into his own net.
The remainder of the match was a gritty contest with St Etienne battling to preserve three points and Lorient pushing for one, but the slender advantage was maintained and St Etienne's excellent run continues.
Meriem 35, Almiron 90
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Despite finishing with only nine men, Monaco came out on top in a keenly contested derby match on the Cote d'Azur. A goal in either half proved sufficient to see off the challenge of Nice at Stade du Ray.
In a first half of few opportunities it was the case of one shot, one goal for the visitors. The decisive moment came 10 minutes before the break; a free kick in the middle of the pitch, brilliantly taken by Brazilian midfielder Nene, bisected the centre of the Nice defence and was cleanly finished by Camel Meriem. It was the 28-year-old's first goal of the season.
Nice made a real game of it in the second half, but when excellent efforts from Cyril Rool and David Hellebuyck failed to bring the home side level, they might have suspected it was not to be their night. Even when defender Adriano and substitute Nikola Pokrivac were both sent off in the last 10 minutes, Nice were unable to capitalise. In fact, it was Monaco who managed a second goal in the dying moments, Sergio Almiron profiting from a great cross from the substitute Ignacio Gonzalez.
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Rennes climb to sixth in the table after a late goal from former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord killed off the spirited challenge of Valenciennes at Stade de la route de Lorient.
Having started the day in 10th, just a place above Valenciennes, this victory has lifted Guy Lacombe's side right back into European contention. Jerome Leroy was starting his 300th game in Ligue 1, but it was the talismanic figure of Steve Savidan who looked most likely to open the scoring. Twice in the opening exchanges the former binman came close to collecting a 13th goal of the season as Valenciennes pressed hard for the opening goal.
For Rennes, Jimmy Briand went close and Mickael Pagis had a goal disallowed for offside, but with Nicolas Penneteau in fine form, there was no way through for the home side. Savidan had another good effort in the second half, but when he was substituted with 20 minutes to go, Valenciennes' goal threat disappeared with him.
That played into the hands of Rennes, and with 13 minutes to go, the master poacher Wiltord made them pay, tapping in after Penneteau spilled a Fabien Lemoine shot.
Deroin 52, Lemaitre 75, Gouffran 89
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Paris Saint-Germain's nightmare season in Ligue 1 continues, with Paul Le Guen's ailing side looking prime candidates for relegation after a hapless 2-0 defeat at Caen. With Lens winning earlier in the day, PSG are now three points adrift in 18th.
The visitors, without injured winger Jerome Rothen, laboured from the start of the match and but for the brilliance of Mickael Landreau in goal would have gone behind as early as the eighth minute. A superb cross from Yoan Gouffran eluded the PSG centre-backs and Tunisia forward Jemaa was somehow repelled by the France international.
With his defenders all at sea, Landreau was called upon time and time again; fortunately for the beleaguered Le Guen, his goalkeeper was equal to the task, foiling Gregory Leca, Gouffran and Gregory Proment in the first half alone. But try as he might, Landreau was powerless to prevent Caen taking a deserved lead early in the second half. Juan Eduardo Eluchans' pinpoint cross found Anthony Deroin and Caen's captain made no mistake from close range.
Strangely, though, the goal seemed to spark PSG into life and the visitors mounted a spirited attempt to get back into the match. Sylvain Armand had a good effort saved, Pauleta had a goal disallowed for offside and the entire team had a go at Caen. But having failed to score, PSG were always vulnerable, and with 15 minutes to go, any hopes of taking something from the match were extinguished when a Gregory Proment corner was headed in by Reynald Lemaitre. A third from Gouffran late on capped a miserable night for the visitors.
Coulibaly 6, Dindane 51, 70
Erding 49, Brechet 79
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Lens earned a potentially vital win in their battle against relegation with a thrilling five-goal victory over Sochaux in Saturday afternoon's early kick-off.
Jean-Pierre Papin's hosts showed vigour and determination - and played some excellent football to hold off a late fightback from the visitors.
Star of the show was Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane, who scored two goals to make up for a hatful of missed chances in Lens' 1-0 defeat at Lorient last weekend.
But it was defender Adama Coulibaly who set the Sang et Or on route to victory with his sixth-minute opening header, when he forced home Olivier Monterrubio's corner. Sochaux came storming back, however - and twice hit the woodwork before the break when Jeremie Brechet headed a Stephane Dalmat cross against the bar, and then former Marseille, PSG and Spurs midfielder Dalmat saw his excellent shot come back off a post.
But Sochaux got what they deserved with an equaliser early in the first-half. It came courtesy of the prolific Turkey international Mevlut Erding - who had come on as a substitute for defender Bojan Jokic in the first-half - when he played a glorious one-two with fellow striker Kandia Traore to net his 10th Ligue 1 goal of the season. Sochaux's joy lasted just two minutes, though, as Dindane got on the end of a Monterrubio cross, drifted past two defenders and finished coolly to re-establish Lens' lead in spectacular fashion on 51 minutes. He got his second and Lens' third at the far post following Monterrubio's third assist of the game 20 minutes from time.
Brechet pulled a goal back with a header 11 minutes time and Lens suffered a few late scares but held on for a crucial victory.
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Auxerre missed a vital opportunity to end their relegation worries when they could only draw 0-0 at home to Metz.
The visitors - whose 2-1 defeat at home to Marseille last weekend condemned them to Ligue 2 next season - played spirited football and might have come away with all three points.
The home side created better chances in the first-half but came up against an excellent goalkeeper in Christophe Marichez and Yvon Pouliquen's Metz grew in confidence after the break. Teenage striker Rudy Gestede was the main danger man - he twice found himself in dangerous positions but was unable to hit the target after some neat skill.
Auxerre finally threatened against in the final five minutes as 11-goal top scorer Daniel Niculae found space in the penalty area but Marichez magnificently turned away his powerful header, which was the last of Auxerre's rare opportunities to claim the win.
The result leaves Auxerre in 15th place on 41pts, six points clear of the relegation zone with four games to go.