Lyon going down in flames
It was THE game of the weekend, the traditional Rhône derby. An old rivalry between St Etienne, France’s glorious club during the 70s, and Lyon, Ligue 1’s powerhouse of the 2000s. In the last few years, St Etienne fans didn’t have much to brag about, having not won a derby since 1996. But it all changed on Saturday night after a hectic game. Honestly, and I am not saying that because I am a die-hard Lyon fan (yes, from now on you might want to read my articles again and see if my vision is biased or not), it was a mere hold-up from Les Verts, the kind of victory you can expect from a team in a stellar form, and the kind of defeat football fans have seen plenty of time from teams going through a crisis. Puel’s team showed clear improvement and a better chemistry on the field,but failed to score its 6th Ligue 1 goal of the season, despite its impressive firepower (Gomis, Gourcuff, Bastos and Briand all started). They tried again and again, though, hitting the post twice and the crossbar once. Dimitri Payet, L1’s leading goalscorer, even cleared two balls off his line. St Etienne spent most of the game defending, trying to block Lyon’s attacking players. Lloris was enjoying a rather quiet night, until the 75th minute, when St Etienne was awarded an imaginary free kick following a tackle by Källström. Payet took advantage of the situation and curved a marvelous free kick which caught Lloris off guard and gave its club its first derby in 16 years. After the game, Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas had a lively debate with some OL fans showing their anger at Claude Puel. The former Lille coach is still OL’s general manager, but is desperate for results in order to save his job. Aulas hasn’t fired a coach in ages (at least during a season) but stay tuned because things might change in the next few weeks. This victory allows St Etienne to lead the League with 16 points.
An unbeaten Rennes side takes the second place
Despite losing two of its best players during the last days of the transfer market (Asamoah Gyan and Ismael Bangoura), Rennes keeps a steady pace with its 4th victory in 7 games. They came back from a difficult away game at Nice with 3 points thanks to Colombian striker Victor Hugo Montaño, who scored the game-winner at the 78th minute following a mistake by defender Mabiala. Earlier in the game, Ligue 1 veteran Stéphane Dalmat had given the visitors and early lead, before Danijel Ljuboja found the net for the locals on a beautiful long-distance strike. Antonetti’s side is still unbeaten and is the other surprise in the league so far.
They might lack depth up front, but their roster is full of quality with youngsters like Marveaux, Brahimi or Yann M’Vila, the latest sensation for the French team. So keep an eye on them.
A solid Toulouse team brings back a point from Lille
In a game between two outsiders, Toulouse and Lille came to a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at Stadium Nord. Ivory Coast sensation Gervinho scored first at the 27th minute, following a long ball by David Rozenhal. LOSC was up 1-0 at halftime, but Toulouse rebelled and delivered an interisting second half. Alain Casanova’s men finally found the back of the net thanks to Devaux, following an assist by former Lyon striker and U19 European Champion Yannis Tafer. Lille remains unbeaten and ranks 6th with 11 points.
Marseille beats Sochaux and keeps improving
OM notched its third win of the season and the second one in a row with a 2-1 victory at home against an interesting Sochaux team. Goals by Taiwo, on a signature long-distance blast, and midfielder Lucho Gonzalez put the locals up top and allowed them to climb to the 6th place, just behind Paris. Star signing André-Pierre Gignac still failed to score its first goal as an OM player, but was close to do so as he hit the woodwork.
Other results of the weekend
In the other games of the weekend Bordeaux failed to capitalize on its victory over Lyon but still brought back a good point from its away game at Caen. The Ligue 2 Champion still holds a surprising 4th place. Monaco fell at Lorient and allowed the locals to enjoy their second home victory of the season. Arles lost for the seventh time in seven games, at Montpellier this game. Julien Giroud, the local striker, scored his first Ligue 1 goals. Paris came back from Lens with a win, while promoted side Brest beat Valenciennes 1-0 thanks to its young star Nolan Roux.
Caen 0 – Bordeaux 0
Lorient 2 – Monaco 1
Montpellier 3 – Arles-Avignon 1
Auxerre 2 – Nancy 2
Brest 1 – Valenciennes 0
Lens 0 – Paris SG 2