Week of April 23-30
Toulouse 1-3 PSG
Lille 0-1 Nancy
Lorient 0-0 St. Etienne
Lyon 2-1 Le Mans
Nantes 0-2 Rennes
Nice 0-0 Auxerre
Troyes 3-2 Sedan
Valenciennes 2-2 Monaco
Bordeaux 1-0 Lens
Marseille 4-2 Sochaux
Early on Saturday PSG travelled to Toulouse to try and continue their recent run of form. Their decisive 4-0 victory over Nantes last weekend put them in a much more favorable position to avoid relegation. They would need three points again here, however, and Toulouse would not be likely to go down without a fight. Rennes' victory over them last weekend had pushed them all the way down into 4th from 2nd, to their chagrin. Toulouse got off to a rollicking start just 8 minutes in when Fode Mansare's one-man effort got them in the lead. PSG were not fazed by the challenge, however, and Pegguy Luyindula, who was everywhere you wanted him to be, scored in the 32nd minute to draw things level. Edouard Cisse was the second PSG player to get his name on the board, just before half-time to swing the momentum. Toulouse tried exceptionally hard in the second half to square the scoreline. The last ten minutes of the match Toulouse had a man advantage as well, as Luyindula was sent off on a second yellow card. PSG were not to be denied, playing offensively to the end, and getting a third courtesy of Jerome Rothen in stoppage time. The win puts PSG 9 points above relegation and most likely safe, and Toulouse look to drop out of the European places with the loss.
Lille and Nancy were two teams who were sitting solidly mid-table and were unlikely to do much better this season. It was a disappointment for Lille, who had crashed out of the Champions League and looked unlikely to get into Europe next year. Nancy had gotten their 40th point two weeks ago, and then lost to Bordeaux, unable to improve upon it. They looked safe from relegation, nothing more. As it happened, this cagey match was not to go Lille's way either. Despite their scrappy play, Lille had the lesser of the possession, and Nancy seized their opportunity late in the second half. Striker Issiar Dia got his first of the year in the 75th minute to put the visitors ahead, and it turned out that it was all they needed to seal the win. Lille now slip up again, and they now appear to be playing for nothing but a mid-table end to their season.
Lorient were at home to St. Etienne in a match that meant little to the shape of the table. The two teams sat in 9th and 10th, and were likely to finish mid-table. Lorient had accomplished their goal this year of staying in Ligue 1. St. Etienne would be disappointed, as they had nearly had their hands on European spots, but a string of poor results had foiled this. Lorient had the Stade du Moustoir falling asleep once again with their cattenacio style of play, wearing St. Etienne down into a draw. A point was all either team deserved, and their table positions stay exactly the same. A predictable result from a predictable side.
Lyon surely had nothing to play for now, Toulouse's loss to Rennes last weekend has assured them of the title, their 6th in a row. Le Mans were nothing but a bit of a nuisance now to them. Le Mans had lost to Lens last weekend, and were in poor form, sitting now in 13th and dropping. Lyon absolutely dominated every facet of this match, but it still took them until 38 minutes to score, and it was Fred who did the deed. It was looking as though Le Mans had no way back due to their poor skill on the ball, but surprisingly, high scoring striker Grafite got through in the 64th minute to draw things level. A point would have been fine by Le Mans, but it was not to be. Florent Malouda got one just 4 minutes later to get Lyon three more points and continue their assault on the table. Le Mans stay in 13th, safely mid-table for this year.
The biggest of the Bretagne derbies played out at La Beaujoire-Louis-Fonteneau in Nantes, with more table implications than most matches this weekend. Nantes were very likely to be relegated now, unless some amazing luck came their way. Rennes had all to play for now that they sat in 6th on the doorstep of Europe. Rennes had played an amazing match vs. Toulouse last weekend, beating them 3-2. Nantes had all the momentum in front of the home crowd in the first half, dominating the ball possession and keeping Rennes on the back heel. A sudden explosion of energy for the visitors after the half, however, got them the win. It was John Utaka and Jimmy Briand who scored 4 minutes apart to put what is very likely the final nail in Nantes' relegation coffin. The 2-0 win gives Rennes a fighting chance at Europe now, especially since Toulouse lost again this week. They leapfrog Marseille temporarily into 5th, their best position of the season.
Auxerre were a team likely to finish just where they were, safe in mid-table, but playing Nice would not be a walk in the park. Nice were 5 points above the drop, but they still needed every point they could get. Last weekend both teams had been a part of drawn matches, but Auxerre were certainly sitting on the better record. As it happened though, Nice let this match slip through their hands, as it ended nil-nil. The result leaves Nice dangerously close to the drop, while Auxerre, in 12th, know where they will finish, and have essentially let the season slip away.
A relegation dogfight took place in Troyes, where Sedan came to visit. The winner was certainly the only team that could possibly get themselves out of the mire, and a draw would likely doom both teams. Troyes had lost to Marseille last weekend, and Sedan had drawn Nice in a match that they would have liked three points from. This unfolded to be the most entertaining match of the day, and it was Troyes first out of the box when Cedric Barbosa got his second of the year to make it 1-0. After half-time, and on the back foot a bit due to Aliou Cisse's sending off, Sedan were able to push though, and it was defender Yoann Lachor who did the deed. Ten minutes later though, Troyes had the chance to go ahead, but Gael Danic missed the penalty that Troyes had been awarded. Sedan didn't mind, they used their momentum and Joseph-Desire Job made the scoreline 1-2. However, A late brace from Troyes' Midfielder Blaise Matuidi, his first two goals of the season, got the the victory. Troyes are now three points back of Nice in 18th, ever-so-close to getting out of trouble, but the run-in will be difficult. Sedan are now likely doomed to relegation, despite their late-season push.
Valenciennes hosted Monaco in a match they had to win to stay safe above relegation. Their loss to Nancy last weekend was less than ideal for them. Monaco's 3-1 win hosting Lille was exactly what they wanted though. They were mid-table and happy to be there seeing as they had had a disastrous start to the season. A scoreless first half gave way to a much more entertaining second, as Jérémy Menez and Jan Koller scored within 20 minutes of each other to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Undeterred, Valenciennes made a late push, and Rudy Haddad and Eric Chelle scored in the last 10 minutes of the match to get the point. Valenciennes still teeter on the brink, still without 40 points and just above relegation, Monaco are safe this season, still in 11th.
The lead match of Sunday was a big one. Bordeaux vs. Lens, two teams vying for Europe and two teams who had claimed victories last week. Bordeaux were in 3rd, one point back of Lens in 2nd, and a win here could cement a European place. Bordeaux got their goal 14 minutes in, courtesy of Ivorian midfielder Jussie. Lens did what they've been doing best, not scoring, even after Bordeaux were reduced to ten men just before halftime. Bordeaux now sit in the automatic Champions League spot, and Lens drop to 3rd, deservedly.
In 5th and 7th, respectively, sat Marseille and Sochaux, two teams that were also looking to move into European places. Marseille beat lowly Troyes last weekend, and Sochaux had drawn Lorient, a result they would like to forget. Six minutes in, the visitors were on the scoreboard when Jerome Leroy broke through. The home side were undettered, however and Lorik Cana levelled the game eight minutes later. Marseille did the damage in the second half, scoring three goals after the 70th minute - through Djibril Cisse, Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery - to put the game out of reach for Sochaux, who had to settle for the consolation of a late Julien Rodriguez own goal. The result puts Marseille in 4th, and Sochaux keep their 7th place spot.