Ligue 1 Matchday 27 : status quo

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The clash of the titans ended up in a 1-1 tie, in a match that showcased the respective strengths of Bordeaux and Montpellier. Lyon having pitifully tied with the lowly Boulogne the night before, the two southern teams were going to battle for the leadership of L1, and things didn’t exactly go as planned for Bordeaux.

Just like against Marseille, the Girondins had one of their central defenders sent off, this time Mickaël Ciani, only this time it took place at the 32nd minute, and it caused a penalty. Set-piece specialist Alberto Costa walked up and took the penalty, which was saved by Cédric Carrasso, for whom the emotional roller coaster will have only started by then. Replays show that a few players from each team had entered the box before the PK was taken, but the referee decided not to pay attention to that, even if a Bordeaux player who had entered the box managed to clear the ball.

The drama doesn’t end here, as 8 minutes after that, Matthieu Chalmé was called for a blatant handball in the box, off a Montano header. The voluntary hand contact apparently didn’t warrant a second yellow card for the right-back, something Bordeaux can fell lucky about. The Columbian striker Montano relieved Costa of his PK-taking duties and took his chance at defeating a very confident Carrasso. The PK was in, a beautiful right-footed curler in the right corner of the net, but the referee saw it differently, and ordered for the PK to be taken again, since again both teams’ players had entered the box before the PK was taken. Admittedly a weird decision since there was no impact on the penalty iself. Montano was therefore asked to shoot again, and this time softly placed the ball to Carrasso’s low right-hand side, who had perfectly anticipated Montano’s intentions. Once again there were some renegade players who had entered the box, and once again a Bordeaux defender managed to clear the ball.

At half-time, this flurry of weird decisions by the referee allowed Bordeaux to miraculously be down by only one man, and to keep the score level. Carrasso was the hero of the day and seemed unbeatable, but far was he to know what the second half had in store for him.

Lyon won 7 championships in a row, and a good part of that was the so-called “luck of the champion”. Bordeaux seemed to have it in 2009, and carried it into the second half. After the break, Montpellier put a huge amount of pressure on Bordeaux’s defense, which could have cracked at any time. But that was without counting with that luck, which struck at the 59th minute. Off a cross, a poor clearance down the middle by Montpellier’s defense saw the ball fall in Marouane Chamakh’s feet at the front of the box. He struck the ball on one touch and placed a beautiful shot out of range of Geoffrey Jourdren, and put Bordeaux on top 1-0, by all means undeservedly. It was Chamakh’s first goal from outside the box of his career.

... and down

... and down

The Girondin’s gritty defending allowed them to fend off all of Montpellier’s assaults, until the 94th minute where Costa was presented with a promising free-kick opportunity, about 20 meters away from Carrasso’s goal. It seemed that the keeper would easily make the save, but he tried to block the ball instead of simply pushing it away, which led him to mishandle the ball which ended in the net. Montpellier finally had their goal, and this time they had Carrasso to thank for it. The keeper went from hero to goat in an instant, and this has a definite impact on the L1 table and the rest of the championship.

Bordeaux could have taken a decisive lead over the 4 followers, and instead of that remain within their reach. They of course still have two games in hand, but if they play those games the same way they’ve been playing league games in 2010, then their supporters can legitimately start worrying. Montpellier can obviously regretting not scoring on one of the penalties, and will have understood that the team lacks experience to react to such compromised situations like the one they faced last night. Nonetheless, their coach René Girard still fancies his club’s chances, and in a surprising change of heart from last week (where he said Montpellier was not a title contender), he declared that his club was the only one that had the ability to stop Bordeaux from winning Ligue 1 this year. Watch it René, I know a couple Olympiques that beg to differ…

In the other matches of the week, Lyon could only come back from Boulogne with a disappoiting 0-0 tie. Puel had aligned a largely B team in preparation for the big match vs. Madrid on Wednesday (watch out for a special podcast with a few guests before the game), and it seemed that even those players had in mind the clash versus the Spaniards. Lyon wasn’t able to develop their offense and Boulogne was only a few inches away from a surprise. Lyon could also have scored but Matthieu Bodmer, who is finally coming back from nagging injuries, played 60 minutes at his original position, attacking midfielder, when the coach had decided to play him center-back for the season, missed the target off a sweet pass by Cissokho. Lisandro and Bastos weren’t able to get a goal either, and they’ll have Jeff Bédénik to blame for that. Boulogne’s goalkeeper had been under heavy fire during February and showed what he is capable this week-end.

The other contenders all tied : Marseille tied at home with Lorient, 1-1 ; and Lille obtained the same result in the hostile atmosphere of Saint-Etienne’s stade Geoffroy Guichard. OM could have, and should have, easily won their game but the attack didn’t prove efficient enough and they were punished by a Laurent Koscielny header. Lille had a harder time against les Verts, from whom Emmanuel Rivière once again showcased a boatload of talent when he put his team up front with a nifty little ball over Landreau, but Stéphane Dumont managed to get an equalizer on a corner, and Lille held on to the tie.

Since the top 4clubs all got only a point, followers will be happy, and this applies especially to Auxerre. A goal by their topscorer Ireneuscz Jelen gave them a 1-0 victory over Valenciennes, and that makes AJA creep up to the same point level as Auxerre, 1 point away from Marseille and 2 for Lyon. Auxerre’s form and consistency is definitely a surprise to many, and they still have 11 games to show whether they should be taken seriously or not. Monaco could have taken advantage of all these ties to move further up but they lost 1-0 in a pretty bad game to Rennes, goal courtesy of the US national team’s captain Carlos Bocanegra, by all means not a beauty (the goal, not the player). Here is the footage of Captain Carlos’ goal :

The death match opposing Grenoble to Le Mans also ended in a tie. Grenoble was up early with a first minute goal but Modibo Maïga gave his team a crucial point in the battle against relegation. Nice is inching a little closer to relegation with a 3-2 defeat at home against Nancy which marks the end for Nice’s coach Didier Ollé-Nicolle.

Finally, PSG got a late equalizer in Lens, courtesy of Sessegnon, after Stéphane Roudet put Lens up with a beautiful left-footed shot. And Sochaux beat Toulouse 1-0 on a beautiful free kick by Ryad Boudebouz who is rumored to have been contacted by the Algerian national team for the World Cup squad, as well as Clermont’s (Ligue 2) goalkeeper Mickaël Fabre.

Here are some L1 highlights for you all :

27e-journée-de-ligu_news”>Résultats de la 27e journée de Ligue 1
envoyé par BFM. – L’actualité du moment en vidéo.

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5 Responses

  1. Ah-ha you didn’t use that excellent image I sent you of rejected Bordeaux keeper Carrasso see – http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_e7u5ptOmmYg/S5ZZCdeRkRI/AAAAAAAADos/w2oHxUq5EIk/s400/carrasso352x196a.jpg

    must be my shameless plug for serieaweekly.com that turned you off lol

  2. Did you send that image to me personally? Or to Dave Trotter?

    I was actually looking for that screen capture but didn’t find it anywhere.

  3. lets all pray for Lyon to win tomorrow

    LETS GO LYON LETS GO FRANCE!!!!

  4. No, I was down in Miami when you sent me that email, so I didn’t see it until just now.

    • LYONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN !!!!!!!!!!!!!
      This is fantastic for French football.

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