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Ligue 1 Review Gameweek 35

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There were big wins for Gazélec and Montpellier in the latest round of Ligue 1 fixtures, ensuring the relegation battle had another twist before the final three games.

Nice 2-0 Reims

Nice made sure they kept in touch with the Champions League spots as they closed the gap on Monaco, remaining in 4th. The defeat saw Reims fall into the bottom three however, as they slipped to 18th and remain in dangerous territory going into the final three matches. Valerie Germain put Les Aiglons in front after just 11 minutes; the striker was able to convert an assist from Hatem Ben Arfa to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

Ben Arfa then turned goal scorer in the second period as he scored his 16th goal of the season from the spot. Monaco’s slip-up sees Nice just two points short of a place in the Champions League and it will surely be an exciting finish to the campaign.

Toulouse 2-3 Lyon

The outcome of this match could well prove pivotal come the end of the season, as it propelled Lyon into an automatic Champions League place while Toulouse remain four points adrift of safety. There were chances galore in the opening stages; Martin Braithwaite and Tongo Doumbia came close for the hosts, while Corentin Tolisso threatened for the visitors. Les Gones thought they had taken the lead when Samuel Umtiti turned Rachid Ghezzal’s effort into the net, but it was ruled out for offside. The home side’s early pressure counted early in the second half; Doumbia flicked on a corner for Marcel Tisserand to draw first blood. Clement Grenier pulled a goal back for Toulouse with a smart free-kick from 25 yards.

Lyon then took the lead in the 81st-minute, Alexandre Lacazette was picked out by Jordan Ferri and found the bottom corner to make it 18 for the season. It didn’t take long for Les Pitchouns to respond though as Wissam Ben Yedder hit back; Anthony Lopes could only parry Braithwaite’s shot but it was pushed into the path of Ben Yedder to level the scores. Both sides looked like scoring the winner but it was Lyon who struck the decisive blow; Lacazette couldn’t get on the end of Ferri’s delivery but Tolisso was there to tap the ball home and score the winner. The result leaves Toulouse 19th, whereas Lyon climb above Monaco to 2nd.

Marseille 1-1 Nantes

Marseille can be thankful there are only three games to go, because dropping points against Nantes left them just five points above the bottom three in 16th. Les Canaris on the other hand ended a four-match losing streak and sit 10th in the Ligue 1 standings. It was the visitors who opened the scoring after half an hour but it was an unfortunate goal to concede for Marseille. Leo Dubois crossed the ball and it was turned into the net by Marseille’s Nicolas N’Koulou.

The hosts were being managed by caretaker manager Franck Passi and his team talk must have sparked new life into Les Olympiens as they equalised four minutes into the second half. Florian Thauvin scored a fine solo goal; beating two defenders before striking an unstoppable shot into the corner of the goal. Marseille were forced to play the majority of the second period with a man less, when Alaixys Romao was dismissed for lashing out at Yacine Bammou, but they were able to hold on for a point. The disappointing home run for Marseille continues though, as it is now 15 Ligue games without a win at the Stade Vélodrome.

Gazélec Ajaccio 3-2 Bastia

Marseille’s misery was compounded by Gazélec, as the Corsicans defeated Bastia to move to within four points of Les Olympiens. The fuel from the hosts’ relegation fight was added to the fight from the Corsican derby, giving Gazélec the hunger to get the three points. Bastia took the lead early on when Axel Ngando scored from Floyd Ayite’s cross, but the home side responded quickly through Khalid Boutaib, finding space at the near post to squeeze the ball past Jean-Louis Leca.

Gazélec ensured they would go in at the break with a lead as they completed the turnaround through a Gregory Pujol volley. The points were wrapped up when Mohamed Larbi added a third from the spot, but Bastia set up a tense finish in the 77th-minute when Yannick Cahuzac pulled a goal back. The hosts climbed out of the relegation zone as they moved up to 17th following this victory, while Bastia remain 14th.

Guingamp 1-1 Caen

Another point for Guingamp saw them step closer to securing their status as a Ligue 1 side, moving up to 12th after drawing with Caen. The visitors remain 9th however, as their hunt for a spot in the top six is almost over. Ronny Rodelin put the away side in front midway through the first half; he was played in by Julien Feret before calmly finishing past Jonas Lossl.

Guingamp has it all to do when Thibault Giresse was sent off for a poor tackle on Jeff Louis, but the hosts found a way to level through Jeremy Sorbon, heading the ball home from a free-kick. It was soon ten men against ten when Caen had a player dismissed; Nicolas Seube was given his marching orders in injury time for a second bookable offence, but it had no effect on the game as the scores remained level.

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Montpellier 4-1 Troyes

A thrashing against Troyes was enough to see Montpellier as good as safe from relegation, as they climbed to 11th following results elsewhere going in their favour. La Paillade got off to the perfect start within the first quarter of an hour when Jerome Roussillon put his side in front. The lead soon vanished though as Chris Mavinga did well to tee up Stephane Darbion as Troyes drew level.

Montpellier went into half-time with a two-goal lead however; thanks to a Mathieu Saunier own goal and a confident finish from Jonas Martin. The end of the first period wasn’t preferable for the hosts as Vitorino Hilton was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Chaouki Ben Saada. This didn’t affect Montpellier’s stride though because Souleymane Camara got his name on the score sheet to add a fourth, pouncing on a rebound after Casimir Ninga’s effort was saved by Mathieu Dreyer.

Saint-Étienne 2-0 Lorient

Saint-Étienne found it difficult to break Lorient down, but they scored two goals later in the second half to almost secure their European spot for next season. Nolan Roux was the hero of the day as he scored a brace to ensure Les Verts got the important win. His first goal of the game came in the 76th-minute and it was nearly kept out by Benjamin Lecomte, but Les Merlus’ goalkeeper failed despite his best efforts.

Roux added a second and sealed the victory in stoppage time; capitalising on Raphael Guerreiro missing his defensive header before sliding the ball home. Lorient remain seven points above the danger zone in 13th so their safety is nearly confirmed, while Saint-Étienne sit 5th and are behind Nice on goal difference.

Rennes 1-1 Monaco

Rennes came from behind and scored late to secure a point against Champions League chasing Monaco. The hosts are 7th and still in with a shout of making the top six as they remain one point behind Lille, but they will see this as a missed opportunity. Monaco on the other hand, will also be disappointed because they surrendered their league position to Lyon and fell to 3rd.

Helder Costa gave the visitors the lead after just 14 minutes, but there was always the danger of a Rennes fightback because both sides had scored 50 goals each before this match. Monaco managed to hold the hosts off for well over an hour, but Rennes fought back in the 80th-minute as Giovanni Sio equalised.

Lille 0-0 Angers

It finished goalless between Lille and Angers on Wednesday, in a game that would have had a strong influence on the top six if either side had won the game. Les Dogues had just lost to PSG in the cup final at the weekend and it had an effect on their midweek performance as they struggled to break down Angers.

Lille’s star man Sofiane Boufal was kept at bay by the visitors as Angers didn’t let the hosts play their game. Les Dogues remain 6th as a result but have dropped four points behind their European rivals. Angers missed the opportunity of closing the gap on Lille, as they remain three points behind in 8th.

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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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