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Ligue 1 Review Gameweek 23

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Some shock results set the tone for the final stretch of the Ligue 1 season, while an impressive eight clean sheets was the highlight from the weekend’s action.

Marseille 1-1 Lille

The first game of the weekend ended in a stalemate between Marseille and Lille as neither side managed to take advantage of teams above them slipping up. Les Dogues took the lead through Sebastien Corchia shortly before the hour mark; he did really well to squeeze the ball past the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

Lille’s hopes of the three points were lifted when Abdelaziz Barrada was dismissed for a tackle on Yassine Benzia with less than ten minutes to play. This was not to be however, as in a harsh fashion Antoine Rabillard scored the equaliser six minutes into stoppage time. Lille are now just 15th in the league and within three points of the drop zone, whereas Marseille have slipped to 10th.

Angers 3-0 Monaco

A surprise result came at the Stade Jean Bouin where Angers comfortably beat Monaco. A win for the visitors would have given them a healthy gap in 2nd place, but Angers have now moved to within two points of them, in 3rd. The hosts took the lead midway through the first half when Cheikh N’Doye tapped the ball in after Romain Thomas’ header came back off the post.

N’Doye showcased his speedy reactions for the second goal as well; he was there once again to score, following in on Billy Ketkeophomphone’s effort. The game was settled not long into the second half, N’Doye was involved once again but his misguided attempt fell into the path of Mohamed Yattara to add a third. This was Monaco’s first defeat since November and it has helped Angers find form once more.

Bastia 1-0 Lyon

Another shock came at Bastia; Lyon have been struggling for weeks but they were still expected to beat Bastia. Les Gones thought they had took the lead after an hour when Mathieu Valbuena set up Rachid Ghezzal to score, before being flagged for offside.

This let-off worked well for the home side who scored less than ten minutes later. Brandao linked up with Axel Ngando before coolly slotting the ball home to make it 1-0 and give his side the three points. Bastia held on for the win, despite Gilles Cioni’s dismissal late on for a two-footed challenge. It was the dream first match in charge for new manager Francois Ciccolini, who has taken Bastia up to 13th, two points behind Lyon in 11th.

Gazélec Ajaccio 0-4 Montpellier

Montpellier came out on top in a huge bottom of the table clash against Gazélec, moving out of the relegation zone to 17th and closing the gap on their hosts to one point. Moustapha Yatabare put the visitors ahead after a quarter of an hour with a close range effort. The second came shortly before the half-time break; Bryan Dabo was tackled in the box and Jonas Martin was on hand to convert the resulting penalty.

Dabo then signed the game off in the second half; his first and Montpellier’s third came with a header from Jerome Roussillon’s delivery, putting the game out of Gazélec’s reach. He was available once more to complete the rout, this time with another header from a Ryad Boudebouz corner.

Lorient 2-0 Reims

Reims’ woes continue as they suffered yet another defeat, while Lorient have ended a small dip in form with a much-needed three points. Zargo Toure stepped into the spotlight for this match, scoring a brace to lead Les Merlus to victory. It took just 16 minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Yann Jouffre’s corner gave Toure a simple header at the back post.

The same combination occurred in the second period as Reims gave Toure a free run at the ball again. Another Jouffre corner picked out Toure to fire a powerful header into the net to reduce Reims to another defeat. Lorient’s victory means they are now 12th in Ligue 1, while Reims are struggling in 18th, two points from safety.

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Toulouse 1-2 Guingamp

Guingamp came out on top in another one of the league’s relegation battles, moving up to 14th in the league standings and ensuring Toulouse slipped to five points from safety in 19th. The visitors went ahead within the first quarter of an hour; Younousse Sankhare scoring from close range.

Les Pitchouns were handed a route back into the game halfway through the second half however, when Jeremy Sorbon handled the ball in the area. Wissam Ben Yedder scored the resulting spot-kick to level the scores. The away side took the lead later on through Jimmy Briand who finished off a well-worked team goal. Matters got worse for Toulouse right at the death when Issa Diop was shown a second yellow card.

Troyes 0-1 Nantes

Bottom of the league Troyes failed to follow up their win over Lille with a home result against Nantes. This now means they have gone 13 games without a home win. Guillaume Gillet scored the only goal of the game, with the assist from Adryan.

The result means the gap between Troyes and safety has extended to 14 points again, meaning it would be very difficult for them to recover from this position. Nantes on the other hand have climbed to 9th in the table, just two points short of the top six.

Caen 2-0 Nice

Nice missed out on a huge opportunity to go 2nd on Sunday as they suffered a loss away to Caen. Both sides are in contention for a high finish this season but the hosts made sure they would draw level on points with Nice, as they sit 5th and 4th in the league standings respectively. Ronny Rodelin put Caen in front in the 12th-minute with a fine lob goal after a great pass from Julien Feret.

The second goal came before the half-time interval; Andy Delort strengthened Caen’s lead from the spot and it was enough to seal all three points for the hosts. Caen have now put consecutive wins together after they lost three in a row, while the victory ended Nice’s five-match unbeaten streak.

Bordeaux 4-0 Rennes

Les Girondins have now established a seven-game unbeaten run and have made themselves strong contenders for a European spot with a 4-0 thrashing of Rennes. This looked unlikely at the beginning of the season as Bordeaux were struggling, but they look to be back to themselves and have taken advantage of slip-ups elsewhere. Cheick Diabate put the home side ahead when he was left unmarked to head home.

Diabate then capitalised on a defensive mishap to add a second in the 51st-minute to double Bordeaux’s lead. Benoit Costil was hard done by after making a great save to deny Adam Ounas, only for Diego Rolan to add a third with the rebound. Thomas Toure capped an excellent team performance by scoring in second half injury time, taking Bordeaux up to 7th in the league. Rennes however have the edge on Les Girondins, just one point above and occupying the final European place.

Saint-Étienne 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain

Saint-Étienne and PSG provided some entertaining football in the weekend’s final game; either side could have taken the lead in the first half. Les Verts had defended fairly well all game but PSG opened the scoring through Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Serge Aurier worked the space on the right wing and crossed the ball to hand the Swedish international an easy finish to make it 1-0.

Aurier was involved in the second goal as well, causing problems on the right again before finding Angel Di Maria. His mishit shot fell wonderfully for Ibrahimovic who casually tapped in his and Les Parisians’ second. It was PSG’s seventh win in a row and they now have a 24-point lead at the top of Ligue 1. Meanwhile Saint-Étienne have fallen out of the top six and have slipped to 8th in the table as their struggle for consistency goes on.

About Mark Sheppard

I am an 18-year-old Journalism and Media student at De Montfort University, Leicester. I enjoy writing, especially about sport because my interests involve football, snooker, rugby, F1 and tennis.

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