FRANCE: LIGUE 1 ROUND-UP

PSG look to be finding their feet as they beat Toulouse 2-0 at Parc des Princes thanks to goals from Javier Pastore and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The hosts made it two wins in two following a disappointing start to the season which saw them draw their opening three games. Carlo Ancelotti will be pleased his team are finally showing the signs of a title winning team as they displayed great character to overcome a resilient Toulouse side. Pastore opened the scoring just before the interval, Marco Verratti played a long ball forward freeing the Argentinean and the midfielder calmly lobbed Ahamada front distance. After the interval Toulouse failed to break down a stern PSG defence as Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled the home sides lead. Neat build up play between Verratti, Pastore and Menez left Ibrahimovic with a simple tap in at the back post to put the game to rest.

Montpellier’s poor start to the season continued as they were beaten 3-1 by Stade de Reims. René Girard rested a number of key players ahead of their Champions League clash with Arsenal and soon found themselves a goal down after Diego converted Antoine Devaux’s pinpoint ball. After the interval the reigning champions responded as Cabella’s first time effort squeezed through the gloves of Agassa before hitting the back of the net. Both teams came close before the home side restored their lead with a fine individual effort from Glombard. The former Bordeaux man danced his way past three defenders before chipping the advancing Jourdren. As Montpellier went in search of an equaliser Courtet ended any hopes as he slammed home a third to secure all three points.

Valenciennes and Bordeaux took a share of the points in what was a boring affair at the Stade du Hainaut. The away side remain unbeaten this season and will be disappointed not to take all three points as they squandered a number of chances. Ludovic Obraniak came closest with his long range free-kick but was denied by Nicolas Penneteau as both teams failed to break the deadlock.

Nice were winners in a six goal thriller as they saw off a lacklustre Brest side. A five minute salvo at the start of the second half saw Nice take a strong hold on the game, first Meriem finished smartly before NemanjaPejcinovic doubled the lead with a simple header. Nice continued to dominate and it was soon three following a smart finish by Bauthéac. Surprisingly Brest forced a way back into the game as Jonathon Ayité fired home a penalty to give the away side a glimmer of hope. But Brest’s hope did not last long as Eysseric fired home his first ever Ligue 1 goal. Paul Baysse scored a consolation goal for Brest deep into injury time but it was too little too late.

Sochaux registered their first points of the season as they beat ten men Saint-Etienne 1-0. The home side soon had their backs against the wall as Brisot was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Abdoul Razzagui with just ten minutes on the clock. But Sochaux failed to make the advantage pay until the final 15 minutes when Doubaï acrobatically scored. The midfielder spectacularly fired home an over-head kick from the edge of the area to clinch all three points, a goal worthy of winning any game, fantastic.

Evian claimed their first win of the season in a dominant display at home to Bastia. Two goals from Barbosa and one from Sagbo saw off a poor Bastia outfit. Barbosa opened the scoring after half an hour with a powerful front post header before Sagbo finished calmly to double their lead in the 73rd minute. Barbosa then dealt a final blow as he calmly finished with the outside of his left foot to secure all three points.

A game which saw three red cards and three goals saw Lorient come out on top against Breton rivals Stade Rennais. Alain Traoré scored two fantastic goals either side of teammate Baca being dismissed for a rash tackle on Pitroipa. Traoré’s first was struck from 25 yards and looped over a helpless Benoît Costil in the Rennes goal. Despite a numerical disadvantage Traoré added a second, which was even better. From 35 yards out the Bukrina Faso midfielder smashed the ball into the top corner with Costil left rooted to the spot, an absolute screamer. After the interval Lorient found themselves down to nine men as goalkeeper Fabien Audard rushed out of his box and brought down Pitroipa, and being the last defender, the referee had no other option but to show the veteran a red card. Two men down and two goals up, could Lorient hold on? It was squeaky bum time for the away side especially when Pitroipa, who had been involved in both dismissals, reduced the deficit to just one goal with 20 minutes left to play. However Rennes momentum was halted as substitute Diarra became the third player to be given his marching orders. And despite some late pressure from Rennes, Lorient held on.

Dimitri Payet’s first half goal for Lille looked to be enough to secure all three points, but having squandered a host of chances to increase their lead Troyes made them pay as Grax scored a late equaliser sending the home fans into euphoria.

Lyon maintain unbeaten as they comfortably beat Ajaccio 2-0 at the Stade Municipal de Gerland. Dejan Lovren opened the scoring half way through the first half as he headed home a Clément Grenier corner. Ajaccio missed several chances either side of the interval and were punished as Lyon doubled their lead 15 minutes before full time thanks to Lopez.

Jordan Ayew scored the only goal of the game for Olympique de Marseille as the away side continued their 100% winning start to the campaign. Nancy were no pushovers and showed great resilience up until the 53rd minute. Jordan Ayew converted his brother’s delightful cross with a diving header, despite Nancy pressing for an equaliser OM held on for a deserved three points.

After five games the league is starting to take shape with OM and Lyon at the top of the table closely followed by PSG who are not too far behind. While last season’s champions Montpellier look set to endure a tough season at the foot of the table.

 

CALLUM DUNN

@CallumDunn

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