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Ligue 1 Matchday 18 Saturday recap.

Fabien, welcome back!

Fifty-two minutes into the Paris St. Germain vs. Monaco match, one wouldn’t be surprised if talk about erecting a bronze statue in the middle of the Champs de Mars far Nene was spreading around the Parc Des Princes. But after a late goal by Daniel Niculae, Monaco were able to grab a valuable point on the road, which assures that The Principality won’t drop to the bottom three in the league.

Going into this match, PSG were the expected favorites. And if you were to look at their play, they dominated the much weaker Monaco side. In addition, Nene continued to show that he can score goals from anywhere, especially in long-range situations. With his two goals in this match, Nene is now tied with Moussa Sow for the Ligue 1 lead in goals scored at thirteen.

Still, even with Paris holding on two a 2-1 lead late in the match, their lack of concentration led to the game tying goal by Monaco. After Stephane Sessegnon went down to injury, referee Lionel Jeffredo continued play even with Sessegnon down. During this time, Monaco moved the ball into the PSG third of the pitch, where they caught the home side napping, mostly because many of their players were expecting the whistle to blow due to the Sessegnon injury. This led to Daniel Niculae sneaking in and score the game-tying goal.

After the match, both Guy Lacombe and Antoine Kombouare were yelling at one another in the tunnel. Sylvain Armand also had a bit of a “discussion” with Jeffredo. Still, while Jeffredo should have blown the whistle, PSG should have continued to play, which they did not. They deserved this loss.

In Toulouse, Alain Casanova might have just learned that having two forwards (Tafer and Santander) can win matches, as Toulouse beat Lorient 3-0 in a match that the home side dominated. Two of the goals were scored by Paulo Machado (one was a penalty), and the third was scored by Federico Santander. The addition of the two forwards to the team made it much more easier for Toulouse to push their midfielders up, which showed by the improved play of Machado.

Also, the Toulouse defense seemed to be strong yet again. Unlike last week, where errors cost them the match against Lyon, Toulouse were able to force Kevin Gameiro out wide, making him ineffective in this match.

In Montpellier, Auxerre, who continues to struggle this year with severe injury problems, were able to snatch a point on the road in a 1-1 draw. Montpellier had the better play throughout most of the match, as well as controlling possession and having better chances on goal. But Auxerre were able to break just when they needed to with a goal from Alain Traore. Montpellier continues to play decent football, but at the same time are also lacking the points. They seem to always be playing well in losing or game-tying efforts.

In the other matches today, St. Etienne were able to grab three points against a much weaker Arles-Avignon side, with a 2-0 victory. Emmanuel Riviere and Laurent Batlles were the goal scorers for ASSE. Nice and Brest played to a 1-1 draw, with former Grenoble striker Danijel Ljuboja scoring for Nice.

As for Rennes, they continue to play a very dull style of play. Even with that being said, they are still pulling off the wins. Tonight, they defeated Valenciennes by a score of 1-0. The big story of the night was the return of Fabien Lemoine from an injury which resulted in the removal of a kidney which nearly ended his career. Lemoine entered the match in the 90th minute. And it was his corner kick in the 4th minute of stoppage time that found the head of Jean Armel Kana Biyik, which sealed the 1-0 win for Rennes.

Fabien…welcome back!

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