Posts Tagged ‘Moussa Sow’

Report: Cole on target as Lille fightback floors Lyon

“PARIS — Joe Cole capped a Lille fightback with the third goal in a 3-1 defeat of Lyon on Sunday that allowed the defending champions to steal a march on their rivals in the nascent Ligue 1 title race.”

To read my AFP round-up of the weekend’s Ligue 1 action, click here.

La semaine en France: Week 38

This season’s final 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
After 34 years in France’s top flight, during which they won five league titles, three Coupes de France, one Coupe de la Ligue and finished runners-up in the 2003-04 Champions League, Monaco were relegated to Ligue 2 following a 2-0 defeat by Lyon last Sunday.

For once Stade Louis II was packed to the rafters, but the home side looked no more cohesive than they have all season and eventually succumbed to second-half goals from Pape Diakhaté and Lisandro López. The legacy of a muddled transfer policy, Monaco’s descent already seems certain to cost them the services of goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier and South Korea striker Park Chu-Young, and they are unlikely to be the only ones to jump ship.

Victory secured a Champions League place for OL, meaning Paris Saint-Germain had to content themselves with the Europa League. There was better news to come for PSG, however, after Colony Capital announced that they had agreed to sell a controlling 70 percent stake in the club to a group of Qatari investors widely believed to be the Qatar Investment Authority. Cue outlandish transfer rumours.

Rennes’ 3-2 defeat at champions Lille saw them lose out on fifth place to Sochaux, who won 3-1 at Arles-Avignon. Sochaux will therefore avoid the inconvenience of a July start in the Europa League, but they will do so without Francis Gillot, after the coach revealed he was in talks to join Bordeaux. Jean Fernandez, meanwhile, has stepped down as coach of Auxerre.

A Loïc Rémy double rescued a 2-2 draw for Marseille at Caen, but the outgoing champions face an uncertain summer. Gabriel Heinze and Lucho González are already heading for the exit, while Didier Deschamps has until June 15 to decide whether or not to trigger a contractual clause that allows him to buy himself out of his contract for €3 million.

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

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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 29

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 two. A week after Paris Saint-Germain gave up the ghost in the Ligue 1 title race, Lyon and Rennes both followed suit in Week 29.

Lyon led 2-0 going into injury time at Nice on Sunday, before capitulating completely in the space of just three minutes to leave their title ambitions in tatters. Pape Diakhaté was the villain of the piece. Having already conceded a penalty for a rash foul on Danijel Ljuboja, whose subsequent spot-kick was saved by Hugo Lloris, the on-loan Senegalese international stupidly scythed down Abdou Traoré and was promptly shown a second yellow card.

Eric Mouloungui punished Diakhaté’s indiscipline from the spot and moments later, Argentine centre-back Renato Civelli prodded in from close range – with his arm – to earn Nice an improbable draw and send Lyon into meltdown. Lloris lost his rag in the tunnel after the game and Jean-Michel Aulas was involved in a heated confrontation with Nice assistant coach Frédéric Gioria. Aly Cissokho, meanwhile, was drawn into an unsightly row with a supporter (sample quote: “And your mum!”) in training on Wednesday.

Lyon are now eight points behind Lille, who made it four wins on the spin with a 3-1 dismantling of Caen. Benoît Cheyrou’s fine second-half strike gave Marseille a 1-0 win at Lens on Sunday night to keep the champions within four points of Lille and launch what now seems certain to be a two-horse title race.

Rennes failed to muster a single shot on target in their 0-0 draw at home to Auxerre and lie seven points behind Lille in third place. PSG endured just as dismal an afternoon in a goalless draw at home to Lorient. It leaves them 12 points behind Lille in fifth and just four points above Montpellier, who won 1-0 at Toulouse.

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

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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 22

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
Dariusz Dudka’s 86th-minute equaliser in Auxerre’s 1-1 draw at home to Lille last Sunday may ultimately prove to be nothing more than a footnote to the Ligue 1 season, but Lille will know that it could very well become one of the goals that defines the title race.

Had Lille held onto the lead earned by Moussa Sow’s sublime overhead bicycle kick early in the first half, they would have finished the weekend seven points clear at the top of the table. Sow’s inattention at a late free-kick allowed Dudka to spring the offside trap, however, and give the chasing pack fresh hope that Lille may yet stumble in the home straight.

It was a weekend of false starts for the title pretenders. Paris Saint-Germain remain second, but a 1-0 loss at Rennes prevented them from capitalising on Dudka’s helping hand. Yacine Brahimi scored the only goal, leaving Claude Makelele for dust and firing into the bottom-right corner, as Rennes put the 5-1 drubbing at Sochaux and their Coupe de France upset against Reims squarely behind them.

Marseille are a point behind PSG and Rennes in fourth, but their 1-0 win at home to rock bottom Arles-Avignon was a wretched affair that will have inspired little confidence as Manchester United loom on the horizon in the Champions League. The fare was better at Lyon-Bordeaux on Sunday night but there were no goals, as OL dropped three places to sixth and Les Girondins fell to ninth.

With Dimitri Payet cast out to the reserves, an Emmanuel Rivière brace gave Saint-Etienne a 2-1 win at Montpellier that lifted the 10-time champions above Lyon into fifth place on goals scored ahead of Saturday’s second Derby du Rhône of the season. Moussa Sissoko was also on target twice as Toulouse sank Monaco 2-0.

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

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La semaine en France: Week 16

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
Just as Marseille looked to be gathering momentum, a setback arrived in the form of a 1-0 defeat at Nice. Little matter that OM dominated the game at the home of their Mediterranean near neighbours. They barely created a chance of note and were punished in the second minute of injury time when former Reading man Emerse Faé side-footed home unmarked from Anthony Mounier’s cut-back.

Defeat saw Marseille drop to fourth, a point behind Rennes and Paris Saint-Germain and two shy of leaders Lille, who rompted to the top of the table – and the scoring charts – with a scarcely credible 6-3 annihiliation of Lorient. The game, postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to snow, was chiefly remarkable for a perfect hat-trick from in-form Moussa Sow (see below), but Kévin Gameiro was unfortunate to finish on the losing side after claiming a smartly taken brace.

Rennes won 1-0 at home to Monaco on Saturday and PSG joined them on 27 points a day later by beating Brest 3-1. Nenê, again, supplied the breakthrough, with Mathieu Bodmer and Ludovic Giuly re-establishing the hosts’ lead after Nolan Roux had equalised. Bodmer was operating in a new role as the central attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, but PSG coach Antoine Kombouaré played down the significance of the tactical shift. “If we win, it’s because it’s the right formula. But I prefer 4-4-2.”

Lyon are fifth, level on points with Marseille, thanks to an injury-time winner from Lisandro López – his second goal of the game – in a 2-1 win at Montpellier. Bordeaux, eighth, also needed a late goal to salvage a point at Saint-Etienne, with Fernando’s 89th-minute header stretching Les Verts‘ winless streak to nine matches. Meanwhile, Sochaux’s 2-1 win at home to Valenciennes took them up to seventh.

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Report: PSG leapfrog Marseille as Lille soar to summit

“PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain climbed to second place in Ligue 1 with a 3-1 defeat of Brest on Saturday, as champions Marseille crashed to a last-gasp 1-0 loss at Nice.”

Read my AFP round-up here.

La semaine en France: Week 13

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
Great play has been made of the French top flight’s competitiveness since Lyon’s dominance came to an end in 2008, but that competitiveness reached slightly preposterous proportions in Week 13, with just four points now separating the top 12 clubs.

Brest remain top, by a point, after Nolan Roux’s first-half equaliser earned Alex Dupont’s side a 1-1 draw at home to Sochaux. Lille flew up the standings to second as Moussa Sow’s first career hat-trick set them up for a 5-2 shellacking of Caen, while Montpellier are behind Les Dogues on goal difference after winning 1-0 at home to Toulouse.

Paris Saint-Germain are fourth, a point back, thanks to Nenê’s last-minute equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Lorient. Rennes dropped to fifth, behind Paris on goal difference, after Julien Quercia’s 86th-minute winner consigned the Brittany outfit to defeat at in-form Auxerre.

Marseille disappointed again in a 1-1 draw at home to Lens, but although they slipped to sixth, they still have a game in hand. Lyon weren’t much better at home to Nice on Sunday night, but Jeremy Pied’s first-half volley was enough to secure a 1-0 victory that moved them to within just three points of Brest in eighth place.

Sandwiched between OM and OL are Bordeaux, after a 2-1 win at home to Nancy decided by the talking point of the weekend. With the score 1-1 in the 90th minute, Jaroslav Plašil slung a free-kick into the Nancy box and although Wendel used his hand to divert the ball towards goal and succeeded only in pushing it against the post, the linesman flagged for a goal and referee Bartolomeu Varela – to the horror of the Nancy players – agreed with him. The result dropped Nancy to second-bottom, but – incredibly – they are as close to leaders Brest (eight points) as they are to rock-bottom Arles-Avignon.

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