Posts Tagged ‘Dimitri Payet’

Report: Lille sitting pretty after Hazard sinks Toulouse

“PARIS — Champions Lille closed to within four points of top spot in Ligue 1 by winning 2-1 at home to Toulouse on Sunday and saw their grip on third place further strengthened by Lyon’s 1-1 draw at Rennes.”

My AFP report on the weekend’s Ligue 1 action, including an important win for Lille and another setback for Paris Saint-Germain, can be read here.

French football quotes of the year 2011

L’Entente Cordiale

“They say it’s because I’m a sexy boy. The English are crazy!”
Yohan Cabaye, on the ‘Dreamboat’ nickname bestowed upon him by Newcastle’s fans

“Behind the ‘big guns’ like Chelsea or Manchester [United], there’s also Sunderland or Wolverhampton. French players who are used to getting on the ball end up watching it fly over their heads for 90 minutes.”
– Marseille sporting director José Anigo has some words of advice for any budding Ligue 1 talents dreaming of plying their trade in the Premier League

“If you want us to just stick it in the box like I’ve seen Stoke City do, you’ll have to change the coach. I forbid it.”
– Rennes coach Frédéric Antonetti shares his thoughts on the football doctrine advocated by Tony Pulis

“Without wanting to be unkind, it’s difficult when there are only four of you defending. Sometimes you feel like you’re on your own. When you watch Barça, everyone defends – even Messi!”
Laurent Koscielny feels a bit exposed in the Arsenal back four

“Sometimes I tell jokes and Joe Cole and I look at each other and we’re the only ones laughing.”
Vincent Enyeama on the language barrier in the Lille changing room

“Bon match pour… my team – mon équipe – et… I’m very happy!”
– Ambushed by Canal+’s touchline reporter Laurent Paganelli, Joe Cole has a stab at his first interview in the language of his new homeland after Lille’s 3-1 win over Lyon

Banter

“Once again I’m attacked by Jean-Michel Larqué. I hope with all my heart I don’t end up like him after my career, but there’s no chance of that because I’m not an idiot.”
– Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Jérémie Janot has a pop at 63-year-old television pundit Jean-Michel Larqué, who had criticised him for letting in two late goals at Lens

“Your mum.”
Aly Cissokho’s considered response to a supporter who told him to “go and join Arles-Avignon” during a Lyon training session in April

“Although the score was already 3-0, he’d been taking the piss out of us with the ball for a few minutes, dribbling past his opponent and then waiting so he could dribble past him again. It’s a lack of respect. Even his Lille team-mates said he was going too far.”
– Nancy captain André Luiz takes a dim view of Eden Hazard’s showboating

“Marseille come up to Paris to fuck PSG!”
– Microphone in hand, match-winner Taye Taiwo gets a bit carried away during the Coupe de la Ligue post-match celebrations by leading the OM fans in a chorus of one of their favourite chants

“It was a good response to people who don’t know football. It’ll make them shut their big mouths.”
Modibo Maiga relishes his brace in a 3-0 defeat of Toulouse after stumbling into the viewfinder of the Sochaux boo boys

“At that moment, I told myself that they’d gone mad and didn’t realise. Today I know that I was wrong: they knew exactly what they were doing. They even closed the curtains on the bus to hide themselves from the cameras… With hindsight, I see them above all as a bunch of thoughtless brats.”
Raymond Domenech is still struggling to let go of the 2010 World Cup

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La semaine en France: Week 21

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
A handful of surprise results saw Lyon, Rennes and champions Marseille fall off the pace in the title race, while Paris Saint-Germain tightened their grip on second place and Bordeaux ended a six-match winless run stretching back to the end of November.

Lyon’s 13-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt halt in a 2-1 loss at Valenciennes, with Aly Cissokho the chief culprit in an error-strewn performance and Yoann Gourcuff worryingly off the pace. It followed hot on the heels of a 1-0 defeat by Nice in the Coupe de France and left Claude Puel’s side seven points off the pace in third place. Marseille are a point worse off in fifth, after a wretched goalless draw at third-bottom Monaco that Didier Deschamps branded “rubbish”. Mathieu Valbuena’s absence is already being felt at the Vélodrome.

The most unexpected result of the weekend, however, was Rennes’ 5-1 capitulation at Sochaux. Having previously conceded just 12 goals all season, the Breton side went into the game with the best defensive record in the league but were torn apart by a Sochaux side boasting Marvin Martin, Brown Ideye and Modibo Maïga on top form. Rennes had goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez sent off (forcing midfielder Alexander Tettey to do a turn between the sticks) and finished the game with nine men following injuries to Kader Mangane and Stéphane Dalmat.

A neat finish from Brazilian striker Túlio de Melo saw Lille maintain their momentum – and their four-point lead – with a 1-0 win at home to neighbours Lens. Mevlut Erding was on target twice as PSG won 2-1 at Arles-Avignon, while Bordeaux coach Jean Tigana said his side’s 2-0 victory over Nice was the first time they had managed “two full halves” all season. The 2009 champions are now four points outside the Champions League places in eighth.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Arles-Avignon 1-2 PSG, Caen 2-0 Auxerre, Lorient 2-0 Brest, Saint-Etienne 2-1 Toulouse, Sochaux 5-1 Rennes, Valenciennes 2-1 Lyon, Lille 1-0 Lens; Sunday: Bordeaux 2-0 Nice, Nancy 1-2 Montpellier, Monaco 0-0 Marseille

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La semaine en France: Week 7

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Ask any football fan how they’d prefer to beat their fiercest rivals, and they might not say a 5-0 thrashing or a thrilling 4-3 victory with a dramatic winner deep into injury time. For some, there is nothing sweeter than beating your worst enemies in unjust and controversial circumstances after a match in which you’ve been completely played off the park from start to finish. Fans of Saint-Etienne have been celebrating just such a victory this week.

Lyon’s performance in the 100th Derby du Rhône was probably their best of the season. They dominated possession, had two shots cleared off the line and hit the woodwork three times. But in the 75th minute, Saint-Etienne were awarded a dubious free-kick and man of the moment Dimiti Payet stepped up to send a picture postcard of a shot into the top-right corner, keeping Les Verts top of the pile for another seven days and sending Lyon into the relegation zone.

Saint-Etienne head into Saturday’s sold-out home game against Marseille with a one-point lead over Rennes, who won 2-1 at Nice. Toulouse are a point further back in third, having been held to a 1-1 draw at home to Lille. Marseille, the champions, continued their rise up the standings with a 2-1 win at home to Sochaux (Taye Taiwo’s opener, a wind-assisted attempted cross from wide on the left, will go down as an early candidate for fluke of the season). OM are now sixth, level on points with fifth-placed Paris Saint-Germain, who secured their first away win since December last year with a 2-0 victory at Lens.

Brest continued their encouraging return to the top flight with a 1-0 win at home to Valenciennes, while fellow Ligue 2 escapees Caen remain fourth after a goalless stalemate against Bordeaux.

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Report: Perfectly placed Payet deepens Lyon gloom

“PARIS — Dimitri Payet scored the winning goal and cleared two shots off the line as Saint-Etienne earned a 1-0 win at local rivals Lyon on Saturday to pile the pressure on OL coach Claude Puel.”

My AFP match report can be read here.

La semaine en France: Week 6

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
For the first time since February 20, 1982, Saint-Etienne are top of Ligue 1.

The 10-time champions won 3-0 at home to Montpellier last weekend to creep ahead of Toulouse on goals scored. Dimitri Payet continued his fine early-season form with two goals – a mazy dribble and finish followed by an inch-perfect free-kick – that also sent him clear at the top of the scoring charts. Toulouse slipped to second after a drab goalless draw at Monaco, while Rennes spurned the chance to go top when they drew 0-0 at PSG.

It all sets things up nicely ahead of Les Verts‘ trip to Lyon on Saturday for the 100th Derby du Rhône, particularly after Lyon’s miserable form continued with a 2-0 defeat at Bordeaux. Yoann Gourcuff, roundly booed on his return to Stade Chaban-Delmas, was unable to inject any invention into Lyon’s play and the visitors found Cédric Carrasso in superb form on the rare occasions they breached Bordeaux’s back line. Alou Diarra headed Jean Tigana’s side in front early in the first half and Jussiê made the game safe with a delightful goal in injury time.

Bordeaux climbed to 13th (four places above Lyon) and Marseille were also on the rise, jumping to seventh after putting three unanswered goals past rock-bottom Arles-Avignon. André Ayew scored twice against the side with whom he spent last season on loan and Arles have responded to their plight by sacking coach Michel Estevan, who said on Thursday that he found the experience “humiliating”.

Performance of the weekend was Sochaux’s 4-0 demolition of Nice. Les Lionceaux scored four beautifully constructed goals and are three points behind Saint-Etienne in fifth ahead of their trip to Marseille.

In other news, PSG goalkeeper Apoula Edel was cleared of wrongdoing by French police after allegations by his former agent that he is 29 (rather than 24) and really called Ambroise Beyaména.

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La semaine en France: Week 4

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Week 4 saw Yoann Gourcuff’s Lyon debut turn into a decidedly damp squib as his side were beaten 2-0 at Lorient, while Bordeaux snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw at home to Marseille and Toulouse extended their 100 percent record to open up a four-point lead at the summit.

All eyes were on Gourcuff at Stade du Moustoir, and although he began the game on the bench he was pressed into action in the 30th minute against the side coached by his father when César Delgado had to go off with a thigh injury. Lyon already trailed to an eighth-minute penalty from the impressive Kévin Gameiro and although Gourcuff’s introduction gave the visitors’ attacking play much more cohesion, their chances of a comeback were dealt a fatal blow in the 66th minute when Lorient debutant Lynel Kitambala slammed home.

Lyon have four points from their first four games – the same as Bordeaux and Marseille, who fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Chaban-Delmas on Sunday night. Lucho González expertly swept OM into a 12th-minute lead after a superb charge down the right flank from Brandão, but Edouard Cissé was harshly dismissed in the 33rd minute and Marseille’s resistance finally crumbled two minutes from time when Anthony Modeste (pictured) got across César Azpilicueta to head in Jaroslav Plašil’s inswinging cross.

A marvellously assured goal (see below) from rumoured Barcelona target Étienne Capoue set Toulouse on their way to a 2-0 victory at Nancy. TFC are four points clear of Rennes and Montpellier, while Sochaux climbed to fourth after exploiting the huge cracks in the Paris Saint-Germain defence to record a 3-1 win over Antoine Kombouaré’s men at Stade Bonal. Caen’s unbeaten run came to an end when they went down 2-0 at home to fellow promoted side Brest.

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La semaine en France: Week 1

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
A shock home defeat for champions Marseille and a limp goalless draw for fellow title favourites Lyon were the most notable results of the opening weekend in Ligue 1, as France turned its attention back to domestic football after the humiliation of the World Cup.

Promoted Caen produced the sensation of the first match day with an enterprising and fearless 2-1 win over a Marseille side heavy of limb and missing a number of important players. The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa in the second half sparked OM into life after captain Nicolas Seube’s speculative effort had put the visitors ahead, but despite drawing level through Mamadou Samassa they were undone by a late header from the excellent Youssef El-Arabi (pictured).

Lyon were grateful for the astonishing reflexes of Hugo Lloris, who produced more heart-stopping saves than some goalkeepers manage in an entire career to keep Monaco at bay at Stade Gerland. Stéphane Ruffier, who made his France debut against Norway on Wednesday, was almost equally impressive at the other end.

Mevlut Erding scored the season’s first goal to put Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 up at home to Saint-Etienne. An acrobatic volley from Stéphane Sessegnon (that required a helping hand from Jérémie Janot to cross the line) and an emphatic finish by new recruit Nenê secured a 3-1 win that put PSG top of the fledgling standings, but clashes with police prior to the match at the Parc des Princes saw 249 fans arrested (all but two from the ranks of the home side’s supporters).

The other promoted teams were unable to follow Caen’s lead. Arles-Avignon went down 2-1 at Sochaux and Brest fell 2-0 at Toulouse. Jean Tigana’s first competitive game as Bordeaux coach ended with a 1-0 defeat at Montpellier – the only side from last year’s top 10 to win their opening game.

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