Week 27 Review: Unrelenting suspense
By D. Crossan
The Ligue 1 title race remains wide open after leaders Paris Saint-Germain slipped up at ten-man Reims, Olympique Lyonnais drew at Brest and Olympique de Marseille came from behind to beat Troyes.
Reims' Grzegorz Krychowiak capped a man-of-the-match performance with the game's only goal in the 64th minute to shock PSG in Champagne country on Saturday afternoon. The Polish international's goal came just minutes after Christopher Glombard's second yellow card had seen the home side reduced to ten men. Even David Beckham's introduction as a substitute could not prevent Carlo Ancelotti's side slumping to their second straight away defeat to Ligue 1 strugglers, having lost 3-2 at Sochaux in Week 25.
Leonardo: "Maybe we've got a team made for Europe"
With the capital club 2-1 up ahead of their Champions League Round of 16 return leg tie with Valencia on Wednesday at the Parc des Princes, PSG sporting director Leonardo said: "Maybe we've got a team made for Europe, based on talent and the quality of our passing, rather than for these sorts of games."
PSG's loss left the door open for second-placed OL to move level on points with the leaders but Rémi Garde's men were unable to capitalise on the opportunity, striker Bafétimbi Gomis spurning a glorious late chance as they drew 1-1 in Brittany on Sunday lunchtime. OL needed a second-half Tripy Makonda own goal to cancel out an early Kamel Chafni strike and lie two points behind PSG.
OL unable to capitalise
Garde said: "I have no rational explanation for how we started the game. It cost us because we had to chase an equaliser, just like against Lorient last time out. We've got the quality to not give up. At the end of the day we are actually frustrated not to have won. We weren't clinical enough in front of goal.
OM turn it around
OM, three points back from OL, looked likely to be heading to the Stade de Gerland for the Olympico in Week 28 off the back of a defeat to Troyes, who are bottom of the table. Troyes - who'd beaten OM 1-0 in Week 9 for their first win of the season – went ahead in the 70th minute through captain Marcos. Elie Baup brought Modou Sougou on straight after that concession and the Senegalese winger, signed from Cluj in January, set about turning the game on its head, playing a major role in OM's goals in the 80th and 82nd minutes. First, Florian Jarjat put through his own net and then Sougou squared for André-Pierre Gignac to net the ninth Ligue 1 goal of his most prolific OM season.
ASSE march on, Clément hurt
Should Saint-Etienne maintain their exceptional form - they have the best record in 2013 with six wins and two draws - then Ligue 1's most successful club historically, with ten titles, may even be able to force themselves into contention. ASSE beat in-form Nice 4-0 at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard on Saturday evening and finished the weekend two points back from OM in fourth. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with a penalty, scored for the sixth successive Ligue 1 game and former Marseille striker Brandao scored a double as he was on target for the fourth straight game in all competitions for the Coupe de la Ligue finalists. Midfielder Jérémy Clément's severe ankle injury, which will sideline him for six months, sustained in the challenge which saw Nice midfielder Valentin Eysseric sent off midway through the first half, left coach Christophe Galtier saying he would have preferred to have lost the game than the former PSG and Lyon man.
Girard to go
ASSE have a Stade de France date against Rennes to look forward to on Saturday April 20. Rennes fell 2-0 at Montpellier on Friday evening. Goals from Vitorino Hilton and Souleymane Camara were enough for the champions to record their eighth straight home win and they're sixth in the table. Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin confirmed over the weekend that coach René Girard, who led the club to their first Ligue 1 crown, will leave in the summer when his contract expires.
2011 champions Lille climbed to seventh as they recovered from falling behind at home to Bordeaux captain Jaroslav Plasil's 31st-minute penalty to win 2-1, Salomon Kalou with the 72nd-minute winner. LOSC have won four in a row now and Bordeaux, the 2009 champions, have lost four straight games.
Nancy moved up to 19th with a 2-1 win at Sochaux, Evian made it ten without a win as they drew 0-0 at Toulouse, themselves without a victory in five, while there were five red cards as Bastia won the Corsican derby against Ajaccio 1-0. Lorient and Valenciennes played out a 1-1 draw.