Posts Tagged ‘Gervinho’

La semaine en France: Week 37

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
You wait 56 years for a major trophy, and then two come along at once. Eight days after ending a 56-year wait to win the Coupe de France by beating Paris Saint-Germain at Stade de France, Lille ended a 57-year wait for the Ligue 1 championship following a 2-2 draw against the same opponents down the road at Parc des Princes.

Few would argue that Rudi Garcia’s side are not worthy champions, and the title-clinching performance showcased plenty of the grit that saw them to crucial victories during the title run-in. Twice Lille went ahead, twice PSG replied, with Mathieu Bodmer’s belting 73rd-minute strike for the hosts cancelling out a close-range Moussa Sow effort that had put Lille 2-1 up moments after Guillaume Hoarau was shown a second yellow card for diving. Sow’s goal was his 22nd off the campaign, nudging him in front of Kévin Gameiro in the race for the Trophée du Meilleur Buteur.

Marseille’s 2-2 draw at home to Valenciennes meant that Lille could have afforded to lose, but OM are at least now assured of automatic Champions League qualification. The battle for the third qualifying slot will go down to the final day, meanwhile, but PSG must win at Saint-Etienne and hope Lyon slip up at Monaco to stand any chance of overhauling them. Sochaux secured their place in the Europa League after a Brown Ideye brace procured a 2-1 win over Saint-Etienne and all the teams within touching distance lost.

The relegation scrap could not be any tauter, with just three points separating 10th-placed Toulouse and third-bottom Monaco. A second-half Benjamin Moukandjo goal was enough for Monaco to win at Montpellier, but Laurent Banide’s side will still start the final day in the drop zone, a point behind Nancy, Caen and Valenciennes but with a better goal difference than four of the five sides immediately above them.

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

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La semaine en France: Week 36

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
Anyone who doubts the truth in the old adage that a week is a long time in football would do well to speak to the jubilant people of Lille. Seven days ago their team had gone 56 years without winning a trophy and were in danger of being overhauled in the league by Marseille. One week on, they are practically assured of their first Coupe de France and Ligue 1 double since 1946.

The Coupe de France already in the bag (see below), Lille saw Marseille concede the title race initiative by drawing 2-2 at Lorient on Sunday. The margins between success and failure, however, were paper-thin. Had Benoît Cheyrou’s injury-time header from all of two yards not been caught on the goal-line by Lorient goalkeeper Lionel Cappone, Lille’s lead would have been trimmed to a single point.

As it was, Lille hosted Sochaux on Wednesday with a three-point lead to build on and a 53rd-minute goal from Gervinho secured a 1-0 win that puts them six points clear with two games to play. Barring a miracle, the title is theirs and a point at Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday will make mathematically sure. “It’s not over yet but, to be honest, it looks good,” admitted Lille skipper Rio Mavuba.

Lyon remain in third place despite a 1-1 draw at Brest on Monday, after PSG failed to capitalise by going down 1-0 at Bordeaux two days later. Lyon lead PSG by two points, with Rennes two points further back after ending a nine-game winless run by prevailing 2-1 at Saint-Etienne (for whom Bakary Sako scored direct from a corner-kick).

Lens’ 1-1 draw at Monaco condemned the northern club to Ligue 2 but an injury-time equaliser from Lens’ reported Manchester United target Raphaël Varane dragged Monaco into the drop zone, after Nancy and Caen both recorded handsome – and timely – victories.

Ligue 1 results
Sunday: Arles-Avignon 1-0 Toulouse, Caen 2-0 Montpellier, Monaco 1-1 Lens, Nancy 3-0 Nice, Saint-Etienne 1-2 Rennes, Valenciennes 1-1 Auxerre, Lorient 2-2 Marseille; Monday: Brest 1-1 Lyon; Wednesday: Bordeaux 1-0 PSG, Lille 1-0 Sochaux

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La semaine en France: Week 30

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
As France baked in unseasonably warm spring temperatures, Lille and Marseille both fluffed their lines to allow Lyon a glimpse of the title and permit Paris Saint-Germain to re-ignite their Champions League ambitions.

Lille stumbled in unexpected fashion, going down 1-0 at improving Monaco after Adil Rami’s woeful back-pass allowed Park Chu-Young to break the deadlock in the 12th minute. The visitors’ cause was not helped eight minutes before half-time when Gervinho saw red for charging at Adriano following an untidy tackle from the Monaco defender and Lille’s attempts to break down their hosts’ well-drilled back four in the second half proved uncharacteristically toothless.

Second-placed Marseille would have closed to within a point of the leaders if they had beaten Toulouse but they had to settle for a point after André-Pierre Gignac’s 85th-minute equaliser earned a 2-2 draw at Stade Vélodrome. The former Toulouse player did not celebrate but he did fire a telling glare at the home fans in the Virage Nord.

Flagging Rennes, fourth, have now gone four games without a win after a 2-0 loss at Brest but there was good news on Tuesday when coach Frédéric Antonetti penned a two-year contract extension. Fifth-placed PSG closed to within four points of the Champions League places by winning 2-1 at Caen, while Lyon were the only other side in the top five to win, putting a tense week behind them to prevail 3-0 at home to Lens and climb to third.

Lens are now seven points from safety and appear destined for Ligue 2, but Monaco’s win over Lille took them out of the relegation zone at the expense of Auxerre, who have lost influential captain Benoît Pedretti for the rest of the season due to an adductor muscle injury. Arles-Avignon drew 0-0 at Bordeaux but will be relegated if they lose at home to Valenciennes on Sunday.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Auxerre 2-2 Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux 0-0 Arles-Avignon, Caen 1-2 PSG, Lorient 1-1 Sochaux, Monaco 1-0 Lille, Valenciennes 1-1 Nancy, Brest 2-0 Rennes; Sunday: Marseille 2-2 Toulouse, Montpellier 1-1 Nice, Lyon 3-0 Lens

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La semaine en France: Week 28

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
And then there were four. After defeat at Auxerre and a draw at home to Montpellier, Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-1 loss at Marseille in last Sunday’s ‘clasico’ effectively ended their hopes of pipping Lille to this season’s title.

A lively encounter at Stade Vélodrome saw OM prevail through a header from the irrepressible André Ayew, after Gabriel Heinze’s 16th-minute free-kick had been cancelled out by Clément Chantôme. It left PSG 10 points behind Lille and five points below the Champions League places. PSG’s fatigue was plain to see during a second half in which they never quite managed to put Marseille under pressure and Antoine Kombouaré was quick to point out that it had been their 11th game in five weeks. Worryingly for the Coupe de France semi-finalists, the last five of those have all ended in defeat.

With 10 games to go, Lille are four points clear of second-placed Marseille after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Brest. Their new-found ability to grind out results, as opposed to blasting teams off the pitch like they did in December and January, only strengthens the conviction that the leaders are not about to collapse with the finishing line in sight.

An 87th-minute header from Kévin Théophile-Catherine earned Rennes a 1-1 draw at Lyon that left the visitors third and the hosts fourth. Lyon are now six points off the pace and Théophile-Catherine’s goal could have far-reaching ramifications for the 2002-2008 champions, with Monday’s L’Équipe openly speculating that this season will be Claude Puel’s last.

Lens stunned Montpellier 4-1 at Stade de la Mosson but remain second-bottom, four points from safety. Monaco, one place higher, are also in serious peril of sliding into Ligue 2 after a 1-0 defeat at home to Nancy left them three points beneath 17th-placed Auxerre.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Auxerre 2-0 Sochaux, Brest 1-2 Lille, Lorient 0-0 Saint-Etienne, Montpellier 1-4 Lens, Toulouse 1-1 Nice, Valenciennes 2-2 Bordeaux, Lyon 1-1 Rennes; Sunday: Caen 2-0 Arles-Avignon, Monaco 0-1 Nancy, Marseille 2-1 PSG

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La semaine en France: Week 23

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
One by one, the pack closed in and Lille could do nothing but watch. The fixture computer having scheduled their home game with Toulouse for Sunday night, the league leaders had no choice but to watch as first Marseille, then Lyon and then Rennes whittled away their lead. By the time Lille took to the field at Stadium Lille-Métropole, they were just two points clear.

The pressure was on, then, but Rudi Garcia’s side produced a quietly efficient performance to win 2-0. A badly deteriorating playing surface did not make life easy, but the visitors obligingly evened things up by giving the ball away in dangerous areas with a frequency that – in the first half at least – bordered on the suicidal. Gervinho scrambled home to put Lille 1-0 up in the 38th minute and teed up substitute Túlio de Melo for the second goal in injury time.

It meant that Lille ended the weekend with their five-point lead intact. Rennes are now second after an equally straightforward 2-0 defeat of Nice. Marseille moved up to third, a point behind Rennes, after André-Pierre Gignac’s impressive double saw them come from behind to win 2-1 at Sochaux. Lyon also had to overcome the concession of an early goal, weathering a first-half storm at Saint-Etienne to record a 4-1 victory that left Jean-Michel Aulas beaming.

Paris Saint-Germain were the only title pretenders who failed to win, a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Lens dropping them to fourth, level on points with OL. Bordeaux’s mini-revival came to an end, as Romain Hamouma’s last-minute header saw them fall 2-1 at home to Caen. There were also wins for Caen’s fellow strugglers Nancy and Monaco, who won 3-1 against Auxerre to leave the erstwhile Champions League participants in 17th place and without a win in 14 games across all competitions.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Arles-Avignon 0-0 Montpellier, Bordeaux 1-2 Caen, Monaco 3-1 Lorient, Nancy 3-1 Auxerre, PSG 0-0 Lens, Sochaux 1-2 Marseille, Saint-Etienne 1-4 Lyon; Sunday: Rennes 2-0 Nice, Valenciennes 3-0 Brest, Lille 2-0 Toulouse

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La semaine en France: Week 20

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
There were few signs of post-Christmas hangovers as Ligue 1 resumed after the winter break, with wins for all the serious title contenders.

Leaders Lille immediately hit their stride with a 2-0 win at Nice, before Eden Hazard and Gervinho inspired Rudi Garcia’s side to a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Nancy in their re-arranged home game on Wednesday to send them four points clear of their title rivals.

Paris Saint-Germain, Rennes and Lyon head the chasing pack on 34 points, after all three kicked off 2011 with victories. PSG had the most difficult return to action, falling behind at home to Sochaux but equalising almost immediately through stand-in skipper Mamadou Sakho and securing a 2-1 victory thanks to a neat finish in the 23rd minute by Ludovic Giuly. Rennes, with new €3 million signing Razak Boukari spearheading the attack, put four unanswered goals past Arles-Avignon (including a delightful chip from Alexander Tettey and Yann M’Vila’s first ever Ligue 1 goal).

Yoann Gourcuff made his first appearance for Lyon since injuring his Achilles tendon at Schalke in November, but Bafétimbi Gomis was the star of the show with a brace of goals (the first an absolute stonker) in a 3-0 win over Lorient. Marseille had plenty of reason to cheer after beating Bordeaux 2-1. André-Pierre Gignac’s volleyed opener was his first goal at Stade Vélodrome since his summer move from Toulouse, while victory ended a run of five league games without a win and kept the champions within two points of PSG.

Toulouse climbed to sixth by beating Nancy 1-0, with Montpellier seventh after a late fightback saw them down Valenciennes 2-1. Saint-Etienne led 1-0 with 10 minutes to play at Lens but a Sébastien Roudet penalty quickly followed by a Loïc Perrin own goal saw Les Verts snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, dropping them two places to eighth.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Auxerre 1-1 Monaco, Brest 1-3 Caen, Lens 2-1 Saint-Etienne, Lyon 3-0 Lorient, Montpellier 2-1 Valenciennes, Nice 0-2 Lille, PSG 2-1 Sochaux, Rennes 4-0 Arles-Avignon, Toulouse 1-0 Nancy; Sunday: Marseille 2-1 Bordeaux; Wednesday: Lille 3-0 Nancy

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World Cup scouting: The 32 – Conclusions

Starting with Nicolás Lodeiro back in December last year, Football Further selected 32 players to watch out for at the 2010 World Cup and then tracked their progress through the tournament via weekly scouting reports. Below is a full compilation of those reports, along with conclusions (and marks out of 10) on how each player performed.

Players with asterisks* were scouted by Football Further in the build-up to the World Cup.


South Africa: Katlego Mphela
– Group match 1 (South Africa 1-1 Mexico): Led the line with uncomplaining dedication, played a key part in the build-up to Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opening goal and hit the post late on with a rather tame left-footed effort.
– Group match 2 (South Africa 0-3 Uruguay): Forced to plough a lone furrow again, he managed to craft a few half-chances for himself but was let down by the quality of the service he received.
– Group match 3 (South Africa 2-1 France): Bowed out of the World Cup with a man-of-the-match performance. Bundled home South Africa’s second goal from Tsepo Masilela’s left-wing centre and could have had a hat-trick. Tested Hugo Lloris three times – twice with well-controlled efforts from distance – and also rattled the post with a side-footed shot from close range.
Overall: 6/10. Made to toil in the hosts’ opening two games, he confirmed his quality in the victory over France.

Mexico: Giovani dos Santos
– Group match 1 (South Africa 1-1 Mexico): Illuminated the first 45 minutes of the World Cup with his enterprising dribbling in central areas. Had less of an impact in the second half but drew fine save from Itumelung Khune with rasping shot.
– Group match 2 (Mexico 2-0 France): Not as influential as against South Africa, but posed a threat whenever he got the ball in the right positions. Looked to get in behind the France defence at every opportunity and sent a low shot a couple of yards wide after outmuscling Patrice Evra shortly before half-time.
– Group match 3 (Mexico 0-1 Uruguay): Often Mexico’s most advanced player, he could not capitalise on the space occasionally afforded him as El Tri were made to accept the unpalatable prospect of a last-16 meeting with Argentina.
– Round of 16 (Argentina 3-1 Mexico): Started on the right but was repeatedly unable to exploit promising situations purely due to the fact he always had to cut inside onto his left foot. Slipped cute pass through to Javier Hernandez in the game’s early stages but endured a largely frustrating evening.
Overall: 7/10. Failed to rediscover the form that made him the stand-out player of the tournament’s opening game, but he nonetheless remained a dangerous weapon for Mexico and was nominated for the Young Player of the Tournament award.

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World Cup scouting: The 32

The following 32 names represent Football Further‘s players to watch at the 2010 World Cup. We’ll be following their performances closely over the course of the tournament, with weekly scouting reports rounding up their progress.

Names preceded by squad numbers. Players in bold have been scouted by Football Further in the build-up to the World Cup. Players in brackets were scouted but not called up by their national sides.

Group A
South Africa: 9. Katlego Mphela
Mexico: 17. Giovani dos Santos (Jonathan dos Santos)
Uruguay: 14. Nicolás Lodeiro
France: 19. Abou Diaby (Moussa Sissoko)

Group B
Argentina: 15. Nicolás Otamendi
Nigeria: 15. Lukman Haruna
South Korea: 16. Ki Sung-Yong
Greece: 18. Sotiris Ninis

Group C
England: 23. Joe Hart (Jack Wilshere)
United States: 4. Michael Bradley
Algeria: 7. Ryad Boudebouz
Slovenia: 15. Rene Krhin

Group D

Germany: 6. Sami Khedira
Australia: 23. Mark Bresciano (Tommy Oar)
Serbia: 3. Aleksandar Kolarov
Ghana: 18. Dominic Adiyiah

Group E
Netherlands: 2. Gregory van der Wiel
Denmark: 3. Simon Kjær
Japan: 18. Keisuke Honda
Cameroon: 3. Nicolas N’Koulou

Group F
Italy: 10. Antonio Di Natale
Paraguay: 19. Lucas Barrios
New Zealand: 20. Chris Wood
Slovakia: 15. Miroslav Stoch

Group G
Brazil: 6. Michel Bastos
North Korea: 9. Jong Tae-Se
Ivory Coast: 10. Gervinho
Portugal: 23. Fábio Coentrão

Group H
Spain: 22. Jesús Navas
Switzerland: 23. Xherdan Shaqiri
Honduras: 12. Georgie Welcome
Chile: 14. Matías Fernández

World Cup scouting: Gervinho (Ivory Coast)

Replacing a much-loved club favourite is a thankless task. Occasionally, such as when Barcelona brought Rivaldo in from Deportivo La Coruña to replace the departing Ronaldo in 1997, a club strikes gold. More often than not, though, things don’t pan out as hoped.

It was with a heavy heart, then, that Lille’s directors set out last summer to replace Lyon-bound Michel Bastos, the jet-heeled Brazilian winger with the thunderous left foot whose 14 goals and nine assists last season fired his team into Europe and earned him a place in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season.

The man they turned to in the end was Gervinho, real name Gervais Yao Kouassi. The 22-year-old Ivorian forward with the dreadlocks and the Brazilian nickname made a steady start to life at the Stadium Lille-Métropole but in October he suddenly exploded into life, scoring 11 goals in 12 league games in the run up to Christmas and leaving Lille second in the table and in the knockout phase of the Europa League as he headed off to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Gervinho arrived in France in 2007, joining Le Mans from Belgian side Beveren, but he had reportedly been tracked by Arsenal since his days at the prolific academy of hometown club ASEC Mimosas. His stats in his first Ligue 1 season were unspectacular – two goals in 26 league appearances – but his effervescent dribbling and livewire performances reportedly brought him to the attention of Ligue 1 heavyweights Monaco, Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain.

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