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Ligue 1 Review Gameweek 33

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Lyon made a huge step towards the Champions League, while the relegation battle became even tighter in the latest round of Ligue 1 matches.

Montpellier 0-2 Lyon

In their hunt for a place amongst Europe’s elite, Lyon heaped more pressure on Monaco as they climbed to 2nd in the league standings. The result was slightly expected for Montpellier, but they are now just three points above the danger zone in 16th place. Les Gones were the dominant side in the first half, but Montpellier had their chances through Jamel Saihi and Mustapha Yatabare.

The breakthrough came after half an hour though and it was teenager Maxwell Cornet for the visitors. Jordan Ferri teed up the youngster before he put Lyon in front with a composed finish. Cornet was on target once again just before half-time; Alexandre Lacazette was the provider this time but another calm finish doubled the lead. Souleymane Camara came close to equalising for La Paillade and Mathieu Valbuena could have added to Lyon’s lead in the latter stages but the game finished 2-0 as Les Gones stretched their unbeaten run to six games.

Guingamp 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain

With the Champions League match against Manchester City on the horizon, Laurent Blanc named a very different side; PSG’s youngest starting eleven in over two decades. One of the younger players, Hervin Ongenda, nearly provided the assist for the opening goal but Blaise Matuidi couldn’t beat Jonas Lossl. Jimmy Briand put the ball in the back of the PSG net, but the offside flag halted the celebrations. A worrying sign for Les Parisians was seeing Kevin Trapp forced off with an injury in the first period.

PSG made a speedy start to the second half and they were awarded a penalty after Christopher Nkunku was brought down by Jeremy Sorbon. Lucas Moura stepped up and made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick. The match was settled midway through the half when Lucas scored his and PSG’s second of the game; Layvin Kurzawa cut the ball back for the Brazilian to secure the victory. Les Parisians’ lead is now 28 points at the top of Ligue 1, while Guingamp slip to five points above the bottom three in 15th.

Angers 0-0 Gazélec Ajaccio

In a match that both sides could have done with winning, neither did but Gazélec will feel more disappointed as the sides around them in the relegation battle picked up points. Angers have already exceeded expectations this season and are just pushing for a shock European spot; the hosts thought they had broken the deadlock in the 20th-minute but the linesman’s flag ruled out Romain Thomas’ goal.

The visitors had the better of the chances as they continued to scrap for a maximum points haul, but Khalid Boutaib wasted one of the key opportunities when he headed Pablo Martinez’s corner over the bar. A win for Reims meant that Gazélec are still 18th but now two points from safety with Toulouse not far behind, while Angers are 8th but have fallen five points behind the top six.

Caen 1-2 Lorient

Caen’s second loss in as many games meant that they slipped to five points short of the European spots in 9th, but an important win for Lorient sees them in 13th having extended the gap from the bottom three to eight points. Les Merlus made a fast start to the match, taking the lead after just 17 minutes through Remy Vercoutre.

Lorient’s start to the second half was even more impressive, needing only two minutes to double their lead. Damien Da Silva fouled Romain Philippoteaux in the box to give the referee no option but to award the spot-kick; a chance Majeed Waris was always going to take from the spot. Dennis Appiah did manage to score a consolation goal for the hosts with a fine individual goal but there was to be no comeback for Caen as they suffered their third defeat in four games to a side in the bottom half of the table.

Reims 2-1 Nantes

Reims were able to take advantage of Gazélec’s slip-up as they defeated Nantes at the Stade Auguste Delaune on Saturday. This was a huge step towards securing their Ligue 1 status as they moved two points above the bottom three in 17th; dragging the teams above them back into danger. Nantes however, have now lost three successive games and their hopes of a top six finish look to be over as they sit 10th in the table. Reims took the lead in the 11th-minute when a pinpoint delivery from Franck Signorino was converted by Prince Oniangue.

The next goal didn’t arrive until midway through the second half and it was an equaliser for Les Canaris. Johann Carrasso denied Emiliano Sylla from leveling the scores, but Johan Audel made sure with the rebound. Nantes lost the game in a harsh fashion, but from a Reims point of view it was just the luck they needed. Nicholas De Preville’s free-kick took a deflection and gave Maxime Dupe no chance of saving it with ten minutes to play. Any hope of a Nantes comeback faded away when Yacine Bammou’s frustration saw him dismissed for violent conduct.

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Saint-Étienne 1-0 Troyes

Another strong defensive display and a big three points made it three victories in a row for Saint-Étienne, beating relegated Troyes to strengthen their position in the top six. The resilience of the visitors ensured that Les Verts would be pushed all the way and the breakthrough came as late as the 75th-minute.

Neal Maupay struck the winner from a Valentin Eysseric corner, firing the ball past Matthieu Dreyer with a volley. The visitors’ goalkeeper had done so well to keep the scores level for the majority of the game, keeping out Loic Perrin and Oussama Tannane to name just two. Troyes’ efforts were nearly rewarded late on when Corentin Jean had an effort on goal but it was smartly saved by Stephane Ruffier. Les Verts remain 6th, while Troyes suffered their seventh consecutive defeat.

Toulouse 4-0 Bastia

Toulouse’s surge in form continues as they have now won back-to-back Ligue 1 games, thrashing Bastia to move to within four points of safety. Les Pitchouns remain 19th but have dragged more teams into a relegation battle to make it a very exciting end to the campaign. The defeat leaves Bastia 11th, although they are virtually safe as they sit nine points above the danger zone. Wissam Ben Yedder has been Toulouse’s player of the season and he put the hosts ahead just before the hour mark, converting Adrien Regattin’s pass.

The home side’s star man then turned provider to set up Martin Braithwaite with a neat cutback. Ben Yedder was on hand once again with an involvement in the third Toulouse goal; he received the ball from Oscar Trejo before quickly giving it back to allow Trejo to complete a fine one-two move with a goal. Bastia’s match quickly went from bad to worse when Yannick Cahuzac was sent off, but there was still time for Ben Yedder to add a fourth and turn the victory into a rout, making it two goals and two assists.

Lille 4-1 Monaco

The pressure of Lyon’s victory looked to have got to Monaco as they suffered a heavy defeat at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Lille gave the teams in the top six something to think about as they have now won their last five games. Morgan Amalfitano nearly broke the deadlock within the first quarter of an hour when his shot deflected onto the post, but he made no mistake with his second opportunity and gave Les Dogues a lead in the 37th-minute. Monaco thought they deserved a penalty when Renato Civelli appeared to bring down Bernardo Silva in the area, but Civelli was dismissed ten minutes into the second period for an altercation with Ricardo Carvalho.

The numbers were soon leveled as Monaco were reduced to ten men; Elderson Echiejile was dismissed for a foul on Sebastien Corchia. Lille then went on to double their lead through Eder with a swift counter-attacking move. Mounir Obbadi then got in on the action to add a third for Lille, but most of the credit had to go to Sofiane Boufal for the assist. The game was put well out of Monaco’s reach when Djibril Sidibe made it 4-0 to the hosts and despite Fares Bahlouli’s consolation; it was an extremely disappointing afternoon for Leonardo Jardim’s side. Lille sit 7th, just two points behind the top six, while Monaco drop to 3rd behind Lyon on goal difference.

Nice 3-0 Rennes

In a big game for the European battle, Nice came out on top thanks to a Hatem Ben Arfa hat-trick as they climb back up to 4th. Rennes slip to 5th as a result and are now in danger of losing their place in the top six if they don’t respond quickly. Les Aiglons nearly took an early lead when Rennes’ Romain Danze turned a cross onto his own crossbar; Benjamin Mendy also was unlucky not to break the deadlock as he put the ball in the back of the net but play was brought back for a foul.

Nice did eventually make the breakthrough that counted; Jean-Michel Seri was brought down by Sylvain Armand in the box and Ben Arfa scored the resulting penalty. Les Aiglons’ talisman then added a second to his tally. After being played through by Vincent Koziello, Ben Arfa fired an unstoppable shot that went in off the post to double Nice’s lead. Rennes failed to deal with Ben Arfa right up until his substitution in the 70th-minute; however there was still time for the Frenchman to get his hat-trick. He was allowed a free run at goal and with no closing down, fired another wonderful strike into the bottom corner to beat Benoit Costil from range and get Les Aiglons back to winning ways.

Marseille 0-0 Bordeaux

The final game of the weekend ended goalless between Marseille and Bordeaux, ensuring both sides would remain in the bottom half of the table. Bordeaux managed to remain nine points above the relegation zone in 12th, whereas Marseille’s ninth game without a win leaves them just six points from danger.

Les Olympiens have not won in Ligue 1 since February 2nd and this was another disappointing display in front of their home fans. Marseille are also without a win since September at the Stade Vélodrome and Sunday’s poor performance led to riots and protests from their supporters. The hosts only had seven efforts on goal in the match, while Adam Ounas nearly broke the deadlock for Bordeaux but saw his attempt strike the crossbar.

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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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