Matchday 29: Saturday round-up

Ligue 1 Conforama


Fred (pictured) was among the scorers in Lyon's 3-0 win at Monaco while PSG grabbed a late goal to share the points at home to Valenciennes and Lille crushed Caen 5-0.

 Ligue 1, Matchday 29

 Saturday, March 15, 2008


Monaco 0

Lyon 3
Keita 20, 38, Fred 35

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Two goals from Kader Keita and another from Fred helped Lyon to a convincing 3-0 victory over Monaco at Stade Louis II.

All three of the goals came in the first-half as the champions built on last weekend's 4-2 win over Bordeaux to make no mistake and extend their lead at the top, temporarily at least.

Keita's impressive performance as a substitute in the match billed as a title decider last week meant he kept his place - and he rewarded coach Alain Perrin's faith with an excellent display throughout.

The Ivory Coast winger opened the scoring on 20 minutes when Benzema sent him clear and, after getting a lucky deflection off defender Vincent Muratori, Keita finished coolly past Monaco's stand-in goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier. Scorer then turned provider as Keita latched on to a superb Mathieu Bodmer pass and crossed for Fred to net his fourth goal in four games. Lyon added a third before half-time when Bodmer played another superb through ball and Keita lobbed over Ruffier.

At 3-0, the result was not in doubt and Lyon moved down a couple of gears in the second-half. Monaco proved totally incapable of putting the visiting defence under any pressure - if anything, Lyon were more likely to extend their advantage. Benzema missed a glorious chance to grab his 18th Ligue 1 goal of the season 15 minutes from time when he played a perfect one-two with Fred and rounded Ruffier with a wonderful feint but took too long to find the net and allowed Ruffier to claw back the ball.

This was another impressive Lyon display but Monaco, desperately short of ideas, have fallen to 12th.


Sochaux 1
Erding 52

Nancy 1
Zerka 80

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Substitute Moncef Zerka grabbed a late equaliser for Nancy to earn them a share of the spoils against Sochaux.

The hosts looked on course to score an invaluable victory in their battle against relegation but Morocco international Zerka silenced the home crowd when he turned home a Gaston Curbelo flick-on 10 minutes from time.

Up until that point Francis Gillot's hosts were good value for their lead. Mevlut Erding had opened the scoring on 52 minutes when he latched on to Stephane Dalmat's superb through pass to lob Nancy goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano. It was highly-rated Erding's ninth Ligue 1 goal of the season.

There were few chances during a nervy first-half as both sides were content to defend in numbers. Dalmat came closest to making the breakthrough when his rasping drive tested Bracigliano's hands, but it was no surprise that the sides went in level at half-time.

After falling behind Nancy sent on Curbelo and Zerka to freshen things up but had few chances until the equaliser. Having drawn level they reverted to defending and ran down the clock with little difficulty.

The result leaves Sochaux in the relegation zone in 18th place on 32pts while Nancy remain third but Marseille can reduce the gap to one point with a win at Lens on Sunday.


Le Mans 1
De Melo 49

Rennes 1
Thomert 41

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Le Mans and Rennes both missed the chance to improve their league positions after a score draw in driving rain at the Stade Leon-Bollee.

Having left both Sylvain Wiltord and Mickael Pagis on the bench, Rennes initially looked unlikely to end their run of six away games without a win. But after having the better of the opening 45 minutes, it was little surprise to see Olivier Thomert score late in the half and give Guy Lacombe's side some reward for their early dominance. Cameroon midfielder Stephane M'Bia crossed from the right, putting the ball virtually on the penalty spot for Thomert to ram home his fourth goal of the campaign.

Whatever Le Mans coach Rudi Garcia said at half-time seemed to work, because the visitors made a storming start to the second half. With just four minutes on the clock, Tulio De Melo let fly from outside the box with a powerful shot that Patrice Luzi should have dealt with. Sadly for the visitors, the goalkeeper somehow allowed the ball to squirm through his hands and into the net to present Le Mans with a point that keeps them in touch with Nice.


Metz 1
Pjanic (pen) 47

Nice 2
Bamogo 42, Ederson (pen) 56

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Nice earned their first win in eight matches with a 2-1 victory over Metz that keeps them on course for a top-six finish.

Habib Bamogo and 22-year-old playmaker Ederson were the scorers as Frederic Antonetti's visitors claimed all three points despite Metz's best efforts to build on their run of three wins in four matches.

Yet it was remarkable that Nice went in ahead at the break given Metz's first-half dominance. Visiting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris showed why he's one of the most highly-rated number ones in France when he produced a miraculous save to deny Laurent Agouazi's header and shortly afterwards Ederson, of all people, got back to clear an Agouazi shot off the line. Against the run of play Bamogo opened the scoring when Bakari Kone flicked on Cyril Rool's cross and former Marseille player Bamogo made no mistake.

But justice of sorts was done within a minute of the restart when Metz drew level. Lloris was adjudged to have brought down Babacar Gueye and responsibility fell to 17-year-old Miralem Pjanic to convert from the spot. He did so in style.

But no sooner had Metz stopped celebrating their penalty than Nice regained the lead with one of their own. Cheikh Gueye upended Bamogo in the box and Nice's Lyon-bound Brazilian Ederson stepped up to score and clinch the points.

Nice move up to fifth while Metz remain bottom and are now 15 points from safety.


Lorient 1
Saifi 75

Auxerre 1
Jaures 73 (pen)

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missed a chance to press for a European place next season after being held to a draw by an Auxerre side that was battered for large parts of the game.

Lorient started the day in seventh, but so congested is the Ligue 1 table that they were only seven points above the relegation zone. Possibly spurned on by such proximity, Lorient dominated proceedings in the first half, with their prolific front pairing of Rafik Saifi and Marama Vahirua running riot. Tahitian forward Vahirua almost scored as early at the 11th minute, his fierce shot being brilliantly saved by Remy Riou in the Auxerre goal. Midway through the half, Lorient went even closer, with Saifi heading an Ulrich Le Pen cross against the bar. Incredibly, Saifi then hit the post in first-half injury time, again with a header from a pinpoint cross.

Incredibly, and perhaps inevitably, it was Auxerre that finally made the breakthrough, with Jean-Sebastien Jaures converting a late penalty after Fabien Audard felled Daniel Niculae in the box. But far from being deflated by the goal, Lorient were stung into action and hit back almost immediately. Fittingly, it was Saifi who scored, latching on to a cross from Jeremy Morel to grab a deserved equaliser. Although the home side pressed hard for a winner, they were forced to settle for just a point.


Pauleta 82

Valenciennes 1
Ceara 50 (own goal)

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A late equaliser from captain Pedro Pauleta kept PSG out of the relegation zone after yet another game in which good chances were spurned by Paul Le Guen's ailing side.

Hovering precariously above the drop zone in 17th at the start of play, the home side created several good chances in the first half, but having failed to capitalise on such opportunities they were eventually forced to pay for such profligacy. Just moments after the restart Valenciennes hit them with a sucker punch when striker Steve Savidan and defender Ceara combined to convert a cross from Sebastien Roudet. Naturally, Savidan was the keener of the two to claim the goal but it was accredited as an own goal to the defender.

With the match heading towards its conclusion, Pauleta proved yet again that he is the man for the big occasion, scoring an equaliser that delighted fans at the Parc des Princes. With just 10 minutes to go, a cross from substitute Willamis Souza found the head of the Portuguese forward, and although goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau managed to block the first effort, he was powerless to stop Pauleta following up to spare PSG's blushes.


St Etienne 0

Toulouse 0

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St Etienne were unable to make it three wins out of four as dogged visitors Toulouse ground out a point at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Despite dominating possession les Verts were unable to break down the visitors' excellently-organised defence and purely for the quality of their defending Elie Baup's side deserved to leave with a point. To add to their misery the hosts finished the game with 10 men after centre-half Moustapha Sall was sent off four minutes from time.

Pascal Feindouno and Dimitri Payet came close for the home side but Laurent Roussey's team paid the price for playing too many long balls towards St Etienne's powerful centre-forward Bafetimbi Gomis. The striker lacked support and this helped Toulouse soak up the pressure.

The longer the game went on the more confident Toulouse became and during the last 20 minutes St Etienne looked drained. Sall got his marching orders when he made a clumsy challenge on former St Etienne left-back Herita Ilunga as the Congo international was clearing the ball.

The point definitely suits Toulouse better as it maintains their chances of avoiding the drop. They remain 19th but are only two points from safety while St Etienne move up a place to 11th.


Lille 5
Lichtsteiner 34, 90, Cabaye 44, 64 (pen), Frau 89

Caen 0

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After a good win over Lens in midweek, Lille followed up with a comprehensive victory over Caen at the Stade Metropole that lifts them to seventh in the table.

Lille began the day separated from their opponents only by goal difference, but from the opening exchanges, it was clear that Lille were the dominant side. Having survived just moments before when Kevin Mirallas should have scored, Caen's resistance was finally broken 10 minutes before half time. A piercing free kick from Ludovic Obraniak caused chaos in the penalty area, forcing Caen goalkeeper Benoit Costil to spill the ball at the grateful feet of Stephane Lichtsteiner who duly converted.

If coach Claude Puel was happy with 1-0, he must have been delighted to go in two goals up after Yohan Cabaye rifled in an unstoppable half-volley from outside the box with only seconds of the half remaining. When Caen goalkeeper Benoit Costil felled Mirallas in the box early in the second half, the game was up for the visitors. Not only was the penalty awarded, but Costil was sent off.

Having made a triple substitution at half-time, Caen had little option but to hand striker Lilian Compan the gloves for the remaining half-hour. His first job was to pick the ball out of the net as Cabaye coolly converted, and late in the game he was at it again as both Lichtsteiner and substitute Pierre-Alain Frau helped themselves to goals in the dying moments of the game.

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