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Ligue 1 Review Gameweek 34

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The latest round of Ligue 1 matches featured a few twists and turns, including surprise wins for Troyes and Guingamp.

Lyon 1-1 Nice

In the weekend’s big European clash, Lyon fought back to rescue a point despite being a man light at home to Nice. The visitors took an early lead as Valerie Germain put Les Aiglons in front with a glance from six yards following a well-worked move from Ricardo Pereira and Alassane Plea. Matters got worse for Lyon midway through the first half when Maxwel Cornet was dismissed for a challenge on Nice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale.

Hatem Ben Arfa and Germain both came close to doubling the away side’s lead but they couldn’t find the breakthrough, which inevitably came back to haunt them. Nice had the upper hand but a six-minute break in play halted their momentum when a large amount of paper and plastic bags on the pitch halted the game in the 69th-minute. Les Gones got back into the match and grabbed an equaliser through Alexandre Lacazette. The French international reacted quickest to tap in the rebound after Mathieu Valbuena’s free-kick struck the crossbar. Lyon drop to 3rd place, while Nice were unfortunate not to overtake them as they remain 4th.

Paris Saint-Germain 6-0 Caen

PSG’s disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester City didn’t affect their league performance as Les Parisians hit six past Caen at the Parc des Princes. The hosts were fast out of the blocks and took an early lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who received the ball from Angel Di Maria before firing an unstoppable shot past Remy Vercoutre. Caen offered a reply but Ronny Rodelin could only skim the post with his effort. Moments before half-time, Ibrahimovic provided an assist for Blaise Matuidi as he doubled PSG’s lead with a strike from inside the penalty area. The Frenchman then turned provider himself two minutes into the second half, teeing up Edinson Cavani to score a third.

The goals were flowing and Caen couldn’t prevent the force of PSG as Di Maria got his name on the score sheet with a scooped shot to leave Vercoutre stranded. Ibrahimovic scored his second of the game to make it 5-0 to PSG as the scoreline grew even more emphatic; the Swedish international timed his run well to meet Layvin Kurzawa’s cross and find the back of the net. There was still time for a sixth as Maxwell scored with a near-post finish within the final ten minutes to complete the rout. It’s now three consecutive wins for PSG, but Caen remain 9th after three defeats on the bounce.

Bastia 0-1 Saint-Étienne

A narrow victory at the Stade Armand Cesari saw Saint-Étienne close the gap on Lyon to just two points as they are 5th and got themselves well in the hunt for a Champions League spot. The win came at Bastia’s expense however as the hosts dropped to 12th after losing a second game in a row. It was a game of few chances but Les Verts came closest in the first half; Loic Perrin saw his volley blocked by Mehdi Mostefa to keep the scores level.

When the opening goal arrived it was from an error in the Bastia defence. Sebastien Squillaci couldn’t clear Kevin Theophile-Catherine’s cross and Nolan Roux was on hand to capitalise with a back-post finish. The loss means that Bastia will have to wait another week to be mathematically safe from relegation.

Bordeaux 1-3 Angers

Ten-man Angers were able to keep their dreams of a top six finish alive as they comfortably beat Bordeaux away from home. The visitors were forced to play nearly an hour with a man less after Ismael Traore was sent off for a reckless challenge on Pablo. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Angers hit Bordeaux with two quick goals in the second half; the first from a Cheikh N’Doye header followed by a Mohamed Yattara that hit Frederic Guilbert before flying into the net.

Diego Rolan pulled a goal back for Les Girondins to spark hope back into the home supporters, but Angers secured the victory just minutes before stoppage time when Gregory Bourillon lobbed Jerome Prior with a header. Angers sit 8th and are now just three points behind the European spots after going four games without defeat, whereas Bordeaux drop to 13th.

Gazélec Ajaccio 2-4 Lille

As Gazélec continue to fight for their Ligue 1 status, they were dealt another blow on Saturday when an in-form Lille visited the Stade Ange Casanova and fired four goals past the Corsicans. In a difficult season, Sofiane Boufal has been one of the positives for Les Dogues and his hat-trick inspired Lille to victory in this game. He was able to break the deadlock with an acrobatic volley, but the visitors were pegged back by Gazélec as Gregory Pujol fired an excellent strike to equalise before half-time.

The home side were reduced to ten men within the final 20 minutes as Roderic Filippi was sent off, making it very difficult to get anything out of the match. Boufal subsequently added his and Lille’s second and third goals, giving them a 3-1 advantage in the 84th-minute. In an exciting finish to the game, Alassane Toure headed a goal back for Gazélec to suggest a hint of a comeback, but their hopes were dashed moments later when Pablo Martinez turned the ball into his own net to seal Lille’s victory. Les Dogues climbed to 6th as a result, while Gazélec remain in trouble in 18th place.

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Lorient 1-1 Toulouse

Toulouse looked to be heading for a huge three points but they were pegged back by a late Lorient goal to sink the hearts of the travelling fans. Les Pitchouns had the ball in the back of Lorient’s net after just 12 minutes but Tongo Doumbia was adjudged to be offside.

The breakthrough came in the second half though and Doumbia was involved; he provided the assist for the man of the moment Wissam Ben Yedder to steer home from close range. Toulouse were celebrating once again in the 75th-minute but the linesman spoiled the party once again as Ben Yedder was offside when he received the ball. These decisions came back to bite Toulouse as Lorient equalised in stoppage time to cause upset. Zargo Toure levelled for Les Merlus to ensure his side earned a point and moved up to 11th, whereas Toulouse had to settle for closing the gap to safety to just three points.

Troyes 2-1 Reims

Already-relegated Troyes ended a seven-match losing streak on Saturday by beating Reims at the Stade de l’Aube. The loss left the visitors in 17th as they were dragged back into danger with Toulouse gaining points on them yet again. The home side got off the mark early in the second period when Fabian Camus was allowed to convert Stephane Darbion’s cross at the far post.

Reims became the masters of their own downfall and were at fault for Troyes’ second goal. Johan Carrasso tackled Corentin Jean inside the penalty area and left the referee with no choice but to award the spot-kick; Benjamin Nivet converted from the spot to give the hosts some breathing space in the game. Reims did manage to pull a goal back through Thievy Bifouma but it was no more than a consolation as Troyes hung in there to earn their third Ligue 1 victory of the campaign.

Nantes 0-2 Montpellier

With Gazélec and Reims slipping up on Saturday, it was imperative Montpellier took advantage the following day and they did so by beating Nantes at the Stade de la Beaujoire. They got off to a great start midway through the first half when they took the lead through Bryan Dabo, who converted Rodrigue Ninga’s delivery to break the deadlock.

As La Paillade continued to push for a second, they were rewarded at the mid-point in the second period when youngster Ellyes Skhiri wrapped up the points. Nantes goalkeeper Maxime Dupe punches the ball straight to Skhiri and he took the chance expertly, lobbing the ball over the sorry goalkeeper. Nantes remain 10th and their third successive defeat ends their hope of a Europa League spot, while Montpellier are now six points above the bottom three in 16th.

Rennes 0-3 Guingamp

One of the shock results of the weekend came at Roazhon Park where Guingamp comfortably beat Rennes to cast a shadow of doubt over the hosts’ push for a top six finish. Rennes dropped to 7th after Lille and Saint-Étienne capitalised on their mistake, whereas Guingamp climbed to 14th and may have just done enough to secure their top flight status as they move eight points clear of the danger zone.

After a goalless first half, Guingamp took the game up a gear in the second and sealed the victory within a 14-minute spell. Moustapha Diallo put the visitors ahead with just over an hour played as his effort just made its way over the line to make it 1-0. Guingamp were then flowing with confidence after putting away one of their chances and they doubled their lead shortly after. An audacious backheel from Jimmy Briand made it two for the visitors and they were cruising to a victory. Both goals were assisted by Thibault Giresse and he completed a hat-trick of assists with just over ten minutes to play; he set up Younousse Sankhare to head home a third and make sure of an important Guingamp win.

Monaco 2-1 Marseille

After capitalising on Lyon’s slip-up, Monaco were able to regain 2nd spot as they defeated Marseille to add to Les Olympiens’ woes. The visitors can be thankful once again that none of the sides below them won as they continue to sit six points above the bottom three in 15th. As they looked to play on the counter, Marseille looked quite threatening on the break and they came close through Lucas Ocampos, whose effort flew just wide of the upright.

The deadlock was broken inside the second half as Bernardo Silva ran forward and curling a shot past Steve Mandanda in the Marseille goal. Monaco began to assert their dominance and inevitably made it two; the ball was flicked on from a corner and Andrea Raggi was there to steer the ball home to make it 2-0. Les Olympiens did have something to cheer about in the latter stages as Steven Fletcher set up Michy Batshuayi to score a consolation goal, but it was another game without any points for Marseille.

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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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