Week 9 review: OL in crisis as Puel pounces, PSG party
By S. Willis
OL's 1-0 Rhône derby defeat was a triumph for brand-new ASSE boss Claude Puel but a heavy blow for embattled coach Sylvinho; PSG stayed on top with a 4-0 win over Angers and Reims rolled on with victory in Rennes.
Alarm bells are ringing at Olympique Lyonnais after Saint-Etienne - under newly appointed former OL boss Claude Puel - handed them a 1-0 defeat in the Rhône derby on Sunday night, a result that leaves the club with the league's second-biggest budget one place (14th) and two points behind their arch-rivals.
With Houssem Aouar's 61st-minute goal ruled out for off-side, the way was paved for substitute Robert Beric to clinch local bragging rights for Sainté with just seconds to go.
Tense times in Lyon
OL president Jean-Michel Aulas hinted after the match that action will be taken, but embattled coach Sylvinho is well aware that his side's seven-match winless run, which has left them with just nine points from nine matches, has him in hot water despite an impressive 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League in mid-week.
"It's not my place to say whether I'm still the man for the job at OL," said the Brazilian, appointed to his first senior coaching role in the summer by new OL sporting director Juninho. "I can repeat that yes, I am worried. I cannot explain this result. But I have to seek out the problems and fix them to help the players get back on track. That's my job."
Puel: 'We have a lot of work to do'
On the other hand Puel, who replaced Ghislain Printant at the Sainté helm as recently as Friday, the day after a 1-1 Europa League draw with Wolfsburg, was trying to curb the enthusiasm generated by the important win - Sainté's first at home this season.
"I don't think it should be about me. The players were extraordinary; they were very disciplined and they put a lot of intensity and cohesion into their game," said Puel, whose side had failed to win in six matches between Weeks 2 and 7 under Printant. "However, we mustn't let this victory hide the fact that we have a lot of work to do."
Summer signings shine for PSG
Meanwhile, PSG maintained their two-point lead atop the standings with a comprehensive 4-0 shut-out of Angers, who had headed into the match in second place and with the league's most potent attack. Pablo Sarabia, Idrissa Gueye and Mauro Icardi all notched their first Ligue 1 Conforama goals for the capital club with Neymar hitting his sixth in seven matches.
"I'm very satisfied with the result," declared PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, whose side had made it two wins from two in the Champions League when Mauro Icardi scored his first goal for the club in the 1-0 win over Galatasaray in mid-week. "It's a 4-0 win against a team who've scored a lot of goals this season. We didn't concede and some of the new players are beginning to show their personalities."
Nantes, Bordeaux do the job
The result leaves Angers in third following Nantes' claiming a fifth 1-0 win of the season, Moses Simon striking to send OGC Nice back to the Mediterranean coast empty-handed. Les Canaris are three points clear in second - despite having scored just nine goals in nine matches.
Paulo Sousa's Bordeaux continued their impressive 2019-20 form with a 3-1 win over Garonne derby rivals Toulouse, South Korean superstar Ui-jo Hwang scoring a spectacular third to render Greek international Efthymios Koulouris' fourth of the season a mere consolation.
Osimhen saves the day - again
LOSC once again had Victor Osimhen to thank for a result, the Nigerian hitman bagging his league-high seventh of the season (79') to secure a 2-2 draw at home to a feisty Nîmes Olympique side for whom Kévin Denkey thought he had scored the winner with 19 minutes to go.
Sitting in fifth, LOSC are just a single length ahead of surging Stade de Reims, who added Stade Rennais to their list of scalps - which includes OM, PSG and LOSC - as Boulaye Dia clinched a 1-0 win with his third of the season.
Mollet inspirational, Ben Yedder and Benedetto razor-sharp
Montpellier rose to seventh after a superb display from Florent Mollet, which included a goal and an assist, helped Michel Der Zakarian's side to a 3-1 win over Monaco, whose return to form was cut short at consecutive wins despite a superb chipped finish from France international Wissam Ben Yedder.
It was a similar situation for Marseille striker Dario Benedetto, who produced a razor-sharp finish from outside the area for his fifth of the season only to see his side fall to a first defeat in eight matches, Amiens showing plenty of quality to win 3-1.
Mustard men rise
Brest jumped from 18th to 12th on the back of a 2-0 win over fellow promotees FC Metz - just their second triumph of the campaign so far - sending Les Grenats bottom as Dijon rose to 19th with a 1-0 beating of Strasbourg that came courtesy of English striker Stephy Mavididi's maiden Ligue 1 Conforama strike.