Matchday 13 - Saturday Review
Juninho inspires Lyon to a 2-0 win over Valenciennes while PSG rack up a precious win. Lille also end up victorious with Marseille failing to once more find the net.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Lille though were in no mood to be as generous in defence as Lorient (5-3) and Nice (6-2) and swiftly started the game in the ascendancy. Olivier Sorin had to come to the rescue of his team on a number of occasions with his crossbar helping him out on just before half-time, Nicolas Fauvergue the culprit for the visitors.
In the second-half Auxerre hit the bar themselves with Fauvergue again the last person to touch the ball. Having escaped putting into his own net, Fauvergue then turned the game's only goalscorer with a finish past Sorin from a Bastos cross.
Auxerre missed a chance for an equaliser at the death with Oliech shooting over when one-on-one. It was a terrible miss and one which cost the home side dear as Lille ran out eventual winners, Claude Puel's team moving up to 11th in the table.
Juninho 40, Govou 86
Lyon extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to four points with a 2-0 win over Valenciennes. Earlier in the day Nancy had reduced the gap to one point with a slim 1-0 victory at home to Bordeaux. Les Gones though, looking for their seventh consecutive win in all competitions, always looked likely to take full points against a side who have struggled to score goals.
In the absence of last weekend's two-goal hero Hatem Ben Arfa, Alain Perrin started with Fred up front flanked by the exciting Karim Benzema and the former Lille stalwart Kader Keita. It was a potent triumvirate and the tactic nearly paid off in the 23rd minute when Fred linked up with Benzema to provide the pas for Kim Kallstrom who whizzed a shot past Penneteau's upright.
Several chances later and Lyon easily opened the scoring through Juninho, the Brazilian glancing a header past the 'keeper from a Benzema cross on 40 minutes. The home side continued their domination in the second period and added a game-clinching goal three minutes from time when substitute Sydney Govou, from an exquisite Juninho pass, perfectly lobbed Penneteau to end all hope for Valenciennes.
Another win then for Lyon, a team who are rapidly rediscovering their form just in time for a crunch UEFA Champions League game on Wednesday against Stuttgart.
With just one win in their last five league matches, Marseille are enjoying a torrid first-half of the season and their opponents at the Stade Velodrome, after a bright start to the year, are also struggling after just four points gained out of a possible 24.
OM dominated the first-half but Audard in the visiting goal was equal to anything Marseille threw at him. In the second-half it was Steve Mandanda's turn to shine and with a combination of misfiring strikers and both 'keepers being in top form neither team managed to break the deadlock.
For Marseille, a trip to Porto in the UEFA Champions League awaits mid-week where victory will almost certainly see them through to the next round - a stark contrast of fortunes to their domestic travails.
Rodrigo 4 (og), Arnaud 17
Two goals in the opening 20 minutes set PSG on the way to three much-needed points at Strasbourg, a victory that lifts the Parisians well clear of the relegation zone.
Despite scoring twice in midweek to become the club's joint top-scorer, Pedro Pauleta was forced to settle for a place on the bench as Paul Le Guen's continued loyalty to his young players again paid dividends away from the Parc des Princes. With two wins and three draws on their travels, PSG had good reason to feel optimistic, and despite Sochaux having the better of the early exchanges, it was the visitors who took the lead on six minutes.
A cross from Brazilian right back Ceara caused panic in the area and was turned into his own net by Rodrigo, under pressure from Arnaud. The perfect start for Paul Le Guen's ailing PSG side was soon to get even better when Arnaud doubled the advantage 10 minutes later. Seizing on sloppy play from Paisley, Jerome Rothen led a three-on-three counter-attack, playing in the 20-year-old midfielder who coolly took his first goal for the club. Sochaux made a game of it with a cracking goal from Colombian forward Renteria early in the second half but PSG held firm for a priceless victory.
Monaco survived a late onslaught at Rennes to end a dreadful run of six games without a victory stretching back to the win over Lille at the end of August. A goal from Frederic Piquionne - starting alone up front with Jan Koller relegated to the bench - was enough to lift the Principality side up to tenth in the table.
After a poor first half in which Rennes dominated possession but Monaco had the better of the chances, the deadlock was broken within seconds of the restart. A corner taken by Spanish midfielder Nene was whipped into the box and the striker rose highest among a crowd of players to power a header past the despairing reach of Patrice Luzi in the Rennes goal. It was Piquionne's first goal since the end of August, his fifth in the league this season.
Rennes, who remain in third, pushed hard for the equaliser but found Flavio Roma in excellent form and were unable to prevent only a third defeat of the season.
Nice and Sochaux fought out an entertaining goalless draw at the Stade du Ray, with both goalkeepers excelling in a match that struggling Sochaux will certainly be happy to have emerged from with a point.
Nice's unbeaten home record remains intact, but it was largely due to the inspired performance of former France international Lionel Letizi, now in his second spell at the club, who made a handful of magnificent saves to deny a Sochaux side that is starting to rebuild after a dreadful start to the season.
Letizi's task was made all the more difficult with the dismissal of Drissa Diakete with 15 minutes remaining - the Mali player was harshly sent off by M Gautier after slipping over and bringing down Michael Isabel - but despite a fizzing effort from substitute Quercia, a point apiece was a fair result.