Week 12 review: Dijon stun PSG, OM climb to fourth
By S. Willis
Dijon FCO pulled themselves off the foot of the table with a stunning 2-1 win over leaders PSG; Marseille bounced back from a rough week by rocketing to fourth place with a 2-1 win over LOSC; and Memphis Depay starred for Lyon once again.
Just a week after hammering derby rivals Marseille 4-0 to carve out an eight-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 Conforama table, Paris Saint-Germain were brought back down to earth by a Dijon side with plenty of bite - notably from Venezuelan striker Jhonder Cadiz, whose mazing solo effort clinched the 2-1 win in Burgundy on Friday night.
Jobard: 'A great chapter in the club's history'
"I'm happy for my players because they were rewarded for their efforts. We caused PSG problems and were also able to hold them off. It's a great chapter in the club's history, and proves to me that we belong in Ligue 1," said Dijon coach Stéphane Jobard, whose side leap from bottom place to 16th in a tightly packed table where just seven points separate the European places and the relegation zone.
"I'm certain of my players' mental strength, and we showed character in equalising before the break. We scored at key times: at the end of the first half and the start of the second. That ruined things a bit for PSG, because after that they became a little too individualist."
Tuchel: 'We could have won it in the second half'
Although Kylian Mbappé produced a superb finish for his fifth of the season, there were no further goals for the league's top attack - but not for want of trying, according to coach Thomas Tuchel.
"We had three shots in the first half and 17 in the second, but we didn't deserve to get lucky," said the German coach, whose three defeats in the opening 12 matches of the league season is a low for the club since 2010. "It's a win for Dijon, but it's normal when a team wants to win against us. They were lucky - they scored twice without any real chances. We had a lot of chances, and we could have won it in the second half, but that's not how it went today."
OM bounce back
Meanwhile Marseille, who had to endure a 2-1 Coupe de la Ligue BKT exit at the hands of Monaco in mid-week, bounced back with an important 2-1 win over direct rivals LOSC, with an own-goal from Les Dogues' defender Gabriel meaning that André Villas-Boas' side scored more goals than they had scoring chances.
"I think we deserved to win," said the Portuguese coach, for whom Morgan Sanson had scored an emphatic opener following a keeper error from Mike Maignan. "We put all the things we were missing in our last two outings into this one, well at least what we were lacking in the first half of our games at Paris and at Monaco. The team spirit was good and the team played well and it's good for us to have won."
Hwang hitting his straps
OM now find themselves in the giddy heights of fourth place, a point clear of LOSC and level on 19 points with third-placed Nantes, whose losing run stretched to three matches - despite an 8-0 hammering of Domino's Ligue 2 cellar-dwellers Paris FC in the Coupe de la Ligue BKT on Wednesday - as they came unstuck 2-0 away to Bordeaux.
South Korean superstar Ui-jo Hwang shone brightly for Paulo Sousa's side, clearly settling into the free-ranging attacking role handed to him by the Portuguese coach. After setting up Les Girondins' first, for François Kamano, Hwang turned scorer and stitched up the win from outside the area.
"We only gave our opponents one chance in the whole game; other that that, we were in control and I have to congratulate my players for a very mature performance," said Sousa, who side sit sixth, two points shy of second. "Hwang is beginning to understand his positioning and he is communicating better with his teammates. He is starting to play a decisive role in every game. When we have the energy of our supporters behind us, the alchemy helps us to get results. The more united we are, the stronger this club will be."
Depay day in Toulouse
In terms of star performances, however, the Week 12 cake certainly has to go Memphis Depay. The Dutchman has been a driving force for his team under new coach Rudi Garcia and trend continued on the trip to Toulouse as his last-gasp strike - his second goal of the game, scored almost by pure force of will - clinched a thrilling 3-2 win.
"I hope that this makes my players realise that they must never give up on anything. Even when we fell behind twice I could tell there was character in this team. I liked the way it panned out, as it proved the players refused to lose," said Garcia, whose side break in to the top half of the table (tenth) with the win. "Thanks to these three points, we are now in calmer waters. We have just taken seven points out of nine and that means we can work with serenity. We're still convalescent but less tense."
The Puel Effect
Saint-Etienne had former Nîmes striker Denis Bouanga to thank for the 1-0 win over AS Monaco. Les Verts are now unbeaten in seven in all competitions and have won three of their four league matches under new boss Claude Puel, while Monaco - who were without injured assist machine Islam Slimani - saw their run of wins cut short at three.
FC Metz and Montpellier played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with some utterly delightful goals - notably a rocket from Opa Nguette and a near-post hammer from Andy Delort - while the pressure eased on OGC Nice boss Patrick Vieira as Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Hérelle struck to secure a 2-0 win over ten-man Reims.
Bahoken bats Strasbourg
Angers recaptured some of their early-season form to beat Strasbourg 1-0 - thanks to Stéphane Bahoken - and end the weekend as the league's surprise second-placed team, while Amiens did the same to Brest. Rennes' trip to Nîmes was called off due to heavy weather. The match will be rescheduled in due course by the LFP's Competitions Commission.