FRANCE: Ligue 1 – Week 6 Review

France

WEEK 6 REVIEW

Monaco visited Paris to earn a valuable point in a thrilling encounter on Sunday night, which brought a close to a goal-filled weekend in Ligue 1.

The two much-fancied clubs met in the first “Cashico” of the season at the Parc de Princes and both sides showed just why they are considered favorites for the trophy this year.

Last season’s top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the first off the mark, driving into the opposing area to meet a Maxwell cross with a fierce flying kick – utilising his taekwondo skills on the football field yet again.

His volley in the 5th minute gave the home side the lead, and they looked in control in the early going. However, there were concerned looks on the faces of the PSG staff ten minutes later, when Brazilian captain Thiago Silva pulled up, after making a routine clearance, holding his left hamstring. The medical staff rushed to his aide; however he was soon replaced by Zoumana Camara at the back.

And Camara found himself in the thick of the action soon after, as Joao Moutinho struck a fierce cross into the PSG box and the defender was not able to keep track of Radamel Falcao. The Columbian stooped low to connect with his head, and was delighted to notch his 5th league goal of the season.

 

1-1 and with Monaco now relaxed into the game, the contest became more even, and the play more cautious as time went by. Ibra will be disappointed that he did not make the most of a superb chance which saw him one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only to double-back and attempt a cross-shot to the far post which sailed wide as Lavezzi attacked.

 

As the 2nd half flew by there were chances for Cavani and Falcao, and more injury worries as Lavezzi, who had been excellent throughout, left the field to ice his knee.

 

Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi were once again excellent in the PSG midfield, with movement and control that always looked to find space in behind the Monaco defence, however neither team could break the deadlock in the end and the game ended 1-1.

 

The sides remain the only unbeaten clubs in Ligue 1 this term, and Monaco can happily say that they have now played both PSG and Marseille and sit proudly at the top of the league.

 

As it turns out, none of the chasing pack managed to make up any points on the leaders. At Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne made a bright start to take the lead against lowly Toulouse. However, Martin Braithwaite and Issiago Sylla struck back for the visitors in the space of 12 minutes to give Toulouse a vital away win, their first 3 points of the season.

 

Nice opened their brand new Allianz Riviera doors for the first time to welcome Valenciennes, and the 34,459 home fans who came to mark the occasion will never forgot it. Dario Cvitanich fittingly got the first goal at the new ground, from the penalty spot, before the impressive Eric Bautheac added a second.

 

After the break there was no let up from the home side, as the highly rated Christian Bruls notched number three, and finally Alexy Bosetti hit number four just 4 minutes later with a perfectly placed finish. The 4-0 victory sees Nice sitting in 5th place in the league, and sets a dangerous marker for visiting teams to the new ground.

 

It was a happier end to the week for Lyon boss Remi Garde, as his side finally pulled out of their recent slump with a 3-1 victory against Nantes. The away side had taken the lead in the 24th minute, through a Jordan Veretout header after a scintillating sprint from Issa Cissokho, however the back-in-business Bafetimbi Gomis equalised just 2 minutes later.

 

OL’s second came from another fabulous Clement Grenier free-kick, and the icing on the cake was provided by the returning Jimmy Briand. The striker, focus of much attention during the transfer window, put in an energetic performance, gaining an assist for Gomis’ goal before supplying his own finish to a Grenier pass. 3-1 winners Lyon are up to 7th, while Nantes sink to 12th.

Marseille failed to put any pressure on the top clubs when they took on Bastia. A 0-0 draw will be disappointing to Elie Baup, and his side will no doubt have been affected by the efforts sustained against Arsenal in the Champions League in midweek.

Elsewhere, debutant Foued Kadir notched his first 2 goals for Rennes in a 2-0 victory over Ajaccio, who are still winless this season. Lille moved into 8th place with a 2-0 win over bottom club Sochaux, a double from Nolan Roux giving them the points.

Lorient played out a stunning 3-3 draw with the usually goal-shy Bordeaux, where errors more than supreme attacking play ruled. Vincent Aboubakar leveled after Cheick Diabate had put the away side ahead in the 8th minute from the penalty spot.

Gregory Sertic restored the lead, although his goal owed more to the slippery hands of goalkeeper Fabian Audard, before Henry Saivet made it three – this time giving Audard absolutely no chance from distance.

Kevin Monnet-Paquet pulled one back before the break, and Sadio Diallo completed the scoring for the home side to level in the 58th minute, chesting down and finishing well from close range, as both sides end the week in the bottom half.

Guingamp remain just outside of the relegation places after a hard-fought draw away at Reims, while Evian recovered from 0-2 at home against Montpellier. A thunderous free-kick from Daniel Wass and a scrappy finish by Pape Sougou in a 3 minute spell of the second half earned the home side a point, while Siaka Tiene found himself dismissed late on for the visitors.

Andrew Davidson

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