Ligue 1: Nice slip up at the top whilst Monaco thrash Marseille.

 taylor   By Scott Taylor

Alassane Plea scored his eighth goal of the season but table-toppers OGC Nice saw their lead cut to just one point after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Bastia in Ligue 1 on Sunday afternoon.

Plea, replacing the injured Mario Balotelli, opened the scoring in the 11th minute before Bastia’s on-loan striker Enzo Crivelli equalised on the hour mark, but his side are six games without a win.

Lucien Favre’s side are now just one point behind free-scoring AS Monaco, who surpassed 40 goals this season with a 4-0 demolition of Marseille at the Stade Louis II on Saturday.

Gabriel Boschilia opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with his fourth of the season before a quickfire brace from Valere Germain gave Leonardo Jardim’s side a comfortable half-time lead.

Guido Carillo then rounded off the result in injury time for a Monaco side who have scored 19 goals in their last five games whilst Rudi Garcia’s Marseille stay 12th.

Another team who are hot on Nice’s tails are Paris Saint Germain as Edinson Cavani’s brace helped Unai Emery’s men beat Lyon 2-1 for their first ever victory at the Parc OL.

Cavani opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Mathieu Valbuena equalised in the second half, but El Matador struck late on for his 11th goal in 11 Ligue 1 games as PSG moved back into third.

Yohan Gourcuff scored the only goal of the game in the first 69 seconds as Rennes beat Toulouse 1-0 which saw them move up to fourth whilst maintaining their unbeaten record at Roazhan Park.

The attacking midfielder, 30, scored his second goal of the campaign as Rennes have only lost once in their last seven games. Toulouse are without a win in five games and drop to ninth in the process.

Nill de Pauw also netted his second of the campaign, as his late equaliser ensured Guingamp earned a third successive draw in their 1-1 stalemate at Caen on Saturday evening.

Ronny Rodelin broke the deadlock in the 79th minute, before Congo international de Pauw levelled his six minutes later for Guingamp, who stay fifth and are now six games unbeaten in Ligue 1.

Francois Kamano scored two goals in the final five minutes as Bordeaux game from behind to snatch a much-needed 3-2 win at home to Dijon on Saturday evening.

Mehdi Abeid gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of half-time before Diego Rolan equalised three minutes after the interval, but Julio Tavares put Dijon back ahead in the 62nd minute.

Kamano then equalised in the 88th minute before the Guinean youngster snatched a winner in the 93rd minute as Bordeaux extend their unbeaten run to six games, whilst Dijon have one win in seven.

Florentin Pogba, brother of Manchester United star Paul, was on the scoresheet as ten-man Saint-Etienne moved up to eighth after also coming from behind, but this time to beat Angers 2-1.

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Gosh, he looks a lot like Paul! (Image Credit: France 3 Regions)

Nicloas Pepe gave the hosts and 18th minute lead, but Pogba equalised on the hour-mark before Oussama Tannane opened his account for the season with the winner in the 77th minute.

The win came at a cost as Kevin Malcuit was sent off in the 96th minute but Christope Galtier’s men register their first win in four games whilst Angers stay 10th in Ligue 1.

Stephane Moulin’s side are now level on points with Metz, after Thibaut Vion scored two goals in three second half minutes as Metz came from behind to draw 3-3 with bottom side Lorient.

Simon Falette gave Metz an 11th minute lead before Abdul Waris equalised five minutes later at the Stade Saint-Symphorien for Lorient, who are three points adrift at the bottom of the table.

Benjamin Moukandjo completed a turnaround with two goals in seven minutes, but Vion scored his first goals of the season to seal a point for Metz, who now have one win in their last seven matches.

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Stephane Sessegnon joined Montpellier in September. (Image Credit: kwesesports.com)

Stephane Sessegnon was sent off, but ten-man Montpellier made it four game unbeaten after a 0-0 draw with Nancy, who climbed out of the relegation zone with the point.

Pablo Correa’s side are now level on points with Nantes, who managed just one shot on target as they also played out a stalemate, but this time after a goalless draw with fellow strugglers Lille.

Ligue 1 Results:

OGC Nice 1-1 Bastia

AS Monaco 4-0 Olympique Marseille

Olympique Lyonnais 1-2 Paris Saint Germain

Stade Rennais 1-0 Toulouse

SM Caen 1-1 EA Guingamp

Girondins de Bordeaux 3-2 Dijon FCO

Angers SCO 1-2 AS Saint Etienne

FC Metz 3-3 Lorient

Montpellier HSC 0-0 AS Nancy

FC Nantes 0-0 LOSC Lille

LEAGUE TABLE

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Ligue 1: Three points separate top three in France.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Nice maintained their three-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 despite both Monaco and Paris-Saint-Germain provisionally moving ahead of them prior to their 1-0 win at Saint-Etienne.

Lyon leapt up the table to move into fourth with a win over strugglers Lille, whilst Nancy boosted their hopes of survival with a narrow win at home to mid-table Dijon.

Finally, free-falling Metz ended their horrific run of form with victory at Toulouse, whilst Rudi Garcia secured his first win as Marseille manager with victory against Caen. Here’s this week’s Ligue 1 round-up.

AS Saint-Etienne 0-1 OGC Nice

Valentin Eysseric was the hero as the Nice midfielder scored the only goal of the game in their 1-0 win over his former side Saint-Etienne to maintain their three point lead at the top of Ligue 1. Despite missing the suspended Mario Balotelli and captain Paul Baysse, Lucien Favre’s side edged out a narrow win, as the Les Aiglons made it eight weeks at the top of the table.

Lorient 0-3 AS Monaco

Monaco temporarily moved to the summit with as goals from Radamel Falcao, Thomas Lemar and Boschilia helped the league’s highest scorers to a 3-0 win at bottom side Lorient. Falcao gave the visitors the lead with his fifth goal in seven games before Lemar doubled their lead with his fifth of the campaign, matching his career-best tally in a season in the just the 12th game. Boschilia sealed the points with Monaco’s 17th goal from a set-piece this season, as Leonardo Jardim’s side maintain their record of averaging three goals per Ligue 1 game.

Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Nantes

Angel Di Maria scored, but then got injured as Paris Saint-Germain kept pace with the leaders after a 2-0 win at home to Nantes, with summer signing Jese netting his first goal for Unai Emery’s side. Jean-Kevin Augustin had a goal disallowed on his first start of the campaign, but Javier Pastore limped off with a knee injury and is doubtful for the game against Arsenal this week.

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Angel Di Maria could miss the midweek Champions League tie with Arsenal. (image credit: dailystar.co.uk)

LOSC Lille 0-1 Olympique Lyonnais

Maxwel Cornet scored the only goal of the game as Lyon leapfrogged Guingamp, Rennes and Bordeaux into fourth after a 1-0 win at Lille on Friday evening. The victory was Bruce Genesio’s side’s third in succession, and just their first in nine visits to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, but were lucky as Ibrahim Amadou struck the crossbar for the hosts late on.

Olympique de Marseille 1-0 SM Caen

Rudi Garcia claimed his first win as Marseille manager as Rolando’s late goal ensured they beat Caen 1-0 at the Stade Velodrome to seal their first home win in five games.

The Portuguese defender, who was out-of-favour by former boss Franck Passi, scored Marseille’s first goal at home in three matches and the first goal scored in front of new owner Frank McCourt.

EA Guingamp 1-1 Girondins de Bordeaux

Jimmy Briand scored an injury-time equaliser but Guingamp slipped up in their pursuit of a European place with a 1-1 draw at home to fellow challengers Bordeaux at the Stade de Roudourou. Igor Lewcsuk looked to have given the visitors their first away win in four matches, but Briand’s header ensured that Les Girondins sealed their fifth draw in seven games whilst extending his side’s unbeaten home record to six matches.

Stade Rennais 1-1 Angers SCO

Nicloas Pepe scored a late equaliser a nine-man Angers rescued a point at Rennes, who have still yet to taste defeat at home in Ligue 1 this season. Giovanni Sio gave the hosts a first-half lead with a smart finish, but substitute Pepe scored his first league goal for Angers, who had Romain Thomas and Cheikh N’Doye sent off.

Toulouse 1-2 FC Metz

Georges Mandjeck and Yann Jouffre were on target as Metz sealed their first win in six games with a 2-1 victory at free-falling Toulouse, who also now have one win in their last six matches. Jouffre’s penalty gave the visitors the lead with their seventh goal from a set-piece meaning they have now scored more goals from a dead ball situation than open play this season. Former Spurs left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto then set up Madjeck for Metz’s second, but PSG loanee Odsonne Edouard pulled a goal back for the hosts in injury-time.

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Toulouse lose at home to keep their poor run going. (Image credit: toulouse.fm)

SC Bastia 1-1 Montpellier Herault SC

Steve Mounie scored a second-half equaliser to extend Montpellier’s winless run at the Stade Armand Cesari to more than 13 years after Ellyes Skhiri’s own goal gave the visitors the lead. Despite being without their first choice goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca, captain Yannick Cahuzac and suspended midfielder Gael Danic, Bastia left the more frustrated of the two sides in Corsica.

AS Nancy Lorraine 1-0 Dijon FCO

Julio Tavares’ deflected winner gave Nancy the stroke of luck they need in their battle for survival after a 1-0 win over the in-form Dijon, whose six-game unbeaten run came to an end.

Baptiste Reynet was again in inspired form for Dijon, but his defence was broken when Tobias Badlia’s low-drive hit Tavare for a 77th minute winner. Dijon haven’t won away from home in 11 Ligue 1 games, a run that goes back to March 2012, where they beat Marseille 2-1.

League Table

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Ligue 1 Preview: Monaco aim for the summit against basement boys Lorient.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Monaco could go top of Ligue 1 with victory over struggling Lorient to kick-off Matchday 13. 

Leonardo Jardim’s side have scored an impressive 36 goals in 12 games this season, with the visitors finding the net 19 times in their last three victories.

They travel to bottom side Lorient who have lost four of their last five games, and will look to climb out of the relegation zone under new manager Bernard Casoni.

Leaders Nice could consolidate their three point lead at the summit of Ligue 1, but face a stern test when they travel to Christophe Galtier’s Saint-Etienne.

Lucien Favre’ side saw their unbeaten run come to an end last week, losing 1-0 at Caen, and face another tough test against a side who are unbeaten at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard this season.

PSG are another team who could finish the weekend on top of the Ligue 1 table, and the Champions will look for their fifth win in six games when they host Nantes.

Alphonse Areola is unlikely to feature for the hosts, so Kevin Trapp will continue in goal. Elsewhere, Nantes coach Rene Girard has stated his intention to manage France at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Could this be the new France coach ahead of 2022? (Image Credit: getfootballnewsfrance.com)

Guingamp continue to be the surprise package in French football this season, with Antoine Kombouare’s playing host to eighth-placed Bordeaux.

Both sides are unbeaten in their last four games, but the visitors have only scored four games in their last six games despite playing sturgglers Caen, Lorient and Nancy.

Rennes could leapfrog Guingamp if Bordeaux avoid defeat and they pick up a victory. Christian Gourcuff’s are unbeaten at Roazhan Park this season, picking 16 points in their six league games.

Angers are the next visitors to test the unbeaten run, with Stephane Moulin’s side tenth in Ligue 1, with just one defeat in their previous five games.

Pascal Durpraz’s Toulouse side have wobbled as of late, with his young team winning just once in their last five games.

They host newly-promoted Metz, who are also out-of-form, losing four of their last five games, but Durpraz has labelled the visitors the 6th or 7th best team in the league ahead of the clash.

Lyon could go fourth if they win away at strugglers Lille and hope results go their way. Pressure has eased on Head Coach Bruce Genesio after consecutive wins, something that seems a long way away for Lille after seven defeats in their last nine league games.

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Lille are looking to climb up the league after a poor campaign so far. (image credit: thenational.ae)

Marseille are yet to pick up a win under new manager Rudi Garcia after a 3-1 defeat at Montpellier followed consecutive goalless draws.

The former AS Roma coach will look to kick-start his short managerial career at the Stade Velodrome with victory over Caen, who ended Nice’s unbeaten run last week.

Elsewhere, Montpellier could move into the top 10 with a win at Basita, whilst struggling Nancy could move out of the relegation zone with victory at home to 11th placed Dijon.

Ligue 1 Fixtures:

Lorient vs Monaco

Saint-Etienne vs Nice

Paris Saint Germain vs Nantes

Guingamp vs Bordeaux

Rennes vs Angers

Toulouse vs Metz

Lille vs Lyon

Marseille vs Caen

Nancy vs Dijon

Bastia vs Montpellier

Ligue 1 Preview: Nice looking to make it 12 games unbeaten.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Lucien Favre and his Nice side will look to increase their lead at the top of Ligue 1 when they travel to struggling Caen on Sunday in search of extending their  unbeaten run to 12 games.

With Mario Balotelli, Alassane Plea and now Wylan Cyprien all in form, chances of a tenth victory this season will be strong. Caen, in contrast, have only picked up four points from their last eight games.

Monaco could close the gap on the league leaders to just three points before their game as they also come up against a side in the relegation zone on Saturday afternoon.

Ligue 1’s highest scorers, who sit second in the league, come up against a rejuvenated Nancy side, who have picked up four points from their last two games despite sitting in 19th place.

Paris-Saint Germain are starting to find the form that has seen them win the last four Ligue 1 titles with Unai Emery’s men winning five out of their last seven games to move up to third.

They host Rennes on Sunday, who themselves have surprisingly risen to fifth, and are unbeaten in their last four games, but they have won away from home just once all season.

Guingamp are another side who have made a strong start to the campaign, and go into their game with 12th placed Dijon off the back of three consecutive victories.

If results go their way, they could end the weekend in the Champions League places, but travel to a Dijon side that haven’t lost at the Stade Gaston Gerard since the opening day of the season.

That defeat came against FC Nantes, and Rene Girard’s men go into the game having won just two of their last ten league games.

Despite winning once at home all season, they will host a Toulouse team who have wobbled in recent weeks under Pascal Durpraz, winning just once in their last four games. A draw seems likely here.

One team in complete opposite form is seventh-placed Saint-Etienne, who have lost just once in their last ten games, a record only bettered by unbeaten league leaders Nice.

Christope Galtier’s men go into the game having lost just once on their travels since the opening day, largely down to goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier.

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Stephane Ruffier has been difficult to beat this season. (Image Credit: madeinsaintetienne.com)

They travel to a free-falling Metz side on Sunday afternoon who have lost their last four games, failing to score in three of those.

In contrast, Olympique Lyonnais have been boosted by the return of the clinical Alexandre Lacazette, who netted twice in their win over Toulouse last week.

That eased the pressure on under-fire manager Bruce Genesio, and they entertain Bastia, who have only won once away from home, that coming against bottom side Lorient in August.

Lorient let a two-goal lead slip last week and will look to climb off the foot of the Ligue 1 table, but face a tricky trip to ninth-placed Bordeaux, who haven’t won in their last five matches.

Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side have won at home since August, and have not beaten sides in the relegation zone this season, and will look to change that on Saturday evening.

Despite snatching a draw from the draws of defeat against Lorient last week, Montpellier are another team in a woeful run of form.

The 2011/12 champions have won just once in their last ten games, but face a new-look Marseille side who are yet to score under manager Rudi Garcia after consecutive goalless draws.

Frederic Hantz’s men will also be boosted by the return of Ryad Boudebouz, who has been key for them going forward this season.

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Ryad Boudebouz could return for Montpellier. (Image Credit: twitter.com) 

Finally, struggling Lille will look to climb away from the relegation place when they travel to Angers on Saturday, but have lost six of their last eight games under Frederic Antonetti.

Ligue 1 Fixtures:

Montpellier vs Marseille

Monaco vs Nancy

Angers vs Lille

Bordeaux vs Lorient

Dijon vs Guingamp

Lyon vs Bastia

Nantes vs Toulouse

Caen vs Nice

Metz vs Saint-Etienne

PSG vs Rennes

 

 

Ligue 1: Mario Balotelli and Nice show no sign of letting up after demolition job.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Mario Balotelli scored his sixth goal in five games as Nice moved six points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with a 4-1 thrashing at home to Nantes on Sunday evening.

Balotelli put his body on the line to set up Wylan Cyprien to score the opener before the Italian picked himself up to stroke home Nice’s second before bowing to the crowd at the Allianz Riviera.

A defensive mistake allowed Sala to pull a goal back for Nantes before Alassane Plea scored his fourth goal in two games to restore his sides two goal cushion with a header.

Cyprien then scored his third goal in two games as Nice made it 11 games unbeaten and extend their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 standings.

That was because Monaco were held to a 1-1 draw at Saint-Etienne. Kamil Glik poked home a free-kick to put the visitors ahead in the early stages with his third goal of the season.

Loic Perrin headed the leveller with the hosts’ only notable chance of the game, again from a set-piece, but Saint-Etienne’s Stephane Ruffier denied the league’s highest scorers countless times.

Another goalkeeper to put in an inspired performance to hold the visitors to a draw was Dijon goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet, who was the standout players in his side’s 0-0 draw at Bastia.

Reynet made a string of strong saves to deny Bastia, who also hit the woodwork three times in a thrilling stalemate in Corsica.

The second goalless draw came at the Stade Velodrome as Marseille manager Rudi Garcia is still searching for his first win and his first goal as after his first home game ended 0-0 with Bordeaux.

Elsewhere, Alexandre Lacazette scored twice as ten-man Lyon beat high flying Toulouse 2-1 at the Stadium Municipal, despite having Rafael sent-off in the second half.

After missing a penalty in the loss to Juventus, Lacazette scored a less than convincing spot-kick to put the visitors ahead before Jullien equalised with a header.

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Lacazette scores from the spot. (Image Credit: si.com)

Corentin Tolisso played in Lacazette, who rounded Albin Lafont and stroked home the winner to send Lyon up to eighth in the table.

Edinson Cavani is another striker in fine form, and the Uruguayan scored his 14th goal of the season as Paris Saint-Germain moved up to third in Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win at struggling Lille.

The visitors did have Angel Di Maria’s goal ruled out for handball, before Di Maria turned provider for Cavani to give PSG all three points.

Wesley Said scored the only goal of the game as Rennes also secured a 1-0 win this week, beating free-faling Metz 1-0 to move Rennes, who are unbeaten at home this season, up to fifth.

Guingamp have also made a phenomenal start to the season, and Nill De Pauw scored the winner moments after coming as a substitute to move them to within three points of second place.

The weekend’s most entertaining game was at bottom side Lorient, who let a 2-0 lead slip to drew 2-2 with fellow strugglers Montpellier in their first game without manager Sylvain Rippol.

Zargo Toure headed the hosts in front before Sylvain Marveaux doubled their lead shortly after.

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Lorient let go of a two-goal lead against Montpellier. (image credit: goal.com)

Souleymane Camara got Montpellier back into the game after a defensive error in the Lorient penalty area as a thrilling half ended with three goals.

Morgan Sanson then secured a point for the visitors with an equaliser in the 69th minute as Lorient’s search for a new manager goes on with Remi Garde reported to have turned down an offer this week.

Finally, Christophe Mandanne and Alou Diarra scored in the first 12 minutes of the game as Nancy secured a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Caen.

League Table

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Ligue 1: Alassane Plea steps up as Nice win again.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Alassane Plea has been used as an understudy to Mario Balotelli for most of the season, but his first professional hat-trick saw Nice beat Metz 4-2 to stretch their unbeaten run to ten matches.

Monaco kept the pressure on the league leaders with a win against Montpellier, whilst Rudi Garcia’s first game in charge of Marseille ended in a 0-0 draw with Champions PSG in ‘Le Classique’.

Nantes lost their second consecutive Brittany derby, Lorient become the first team to sack their manager, and Lyon continued to fall down the table after defeat to Guingamp.

Plea’s hat-trick in the win took him to six goals in ten league games, one more than Balotelli which gives manager Lucien Favre a refreshing selection headache.

Wylan Cyprien netted Nice’s other goal as the league leaders are the only team not to have lost this season and are also the only team to have scored in every game this season.

Habib Diallo scored 21 seconds after coming on for Metz, which was the quickest goal by a substitute since the 2014/15 season.

Georges Mandjeck was also on target for the hosts, who have lost four of their last five games after losing only two of their previous 19 before the defeat.

Radamal Falcao scored on his return from injury as Monaco came from behind to thump Montpellier 6-2 at the Stade Louis II, scoring six goals in a game for the first time since May 2003.

Ryad Boudebouz scored twice for the visitors, but 17-year-old Kylian Mbappe continued his stunning form with a goal and an assist for Monaco, who scored their 29th goal in 10 games.

Jemerson, Valere Germain, Thomas Lemar and Adama Traore were on target for Leonardo Jardim’s men, who have now scored the most by any club at this stage of the season in the 21st century.

Alexandre Lacazette also scored his first goal since his return from injury, but Lyon threw away a lead to lose 3-1 at home to Guingamp to put more pressure on manager Bruce Genesio.

The goal extended his side’s scoring streak at Parc OL to 15 consecutive matches, but Marcus Coco’s first Ligue 1 brace gave Lyon their first defeat after leading at half-time in over 35 years.

Genesio now has the worst defeat percentage of any Lyon manager in their history, as the rumours continue to circulate about his future.

Sylvain Ripoll did in fact become the first manager to be sacked this season as bottom side Lorient lost 1-0 at Dijon, with Jordan Loties scoring a 92nd minute winner to lift his side up to 13th in Ligue 1.

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Sacked! (Image Credit: twitter.com)

Elsewhere, substitute Kamil Grosicki scored twice as Rennes came from behind to beat FC Nantes in the 75th Breton derby at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

Emiliano Sala gave Nantes the lead, but Grosicki, who scored six goals off the bench last season, netted twice to five Rennes their first away win of the season.

Eder scored the winner as Lille moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at home to Bastia on Saturday afternoon.

Sebastien Corchia curled in his first of the season from a 51st minute before Eder fired home Lille’s second six minutes later, before Sadio Diallo set up a nervous finish 19 minutes from time.

Saint-Etienne scored two second half goals as they secured their first away win of the season with victory over struggling Caen, with both goals coming from loanees from the Championship.

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Henri Saviet didn’t make much of an impact on Tyneside.(Image Credit: Galsenfoot.)

Newcastle loanee Henri Saviet opened the scoring before Aston Villa loanee Jordan Veretout won it nine minutes later, but Christophe Galtier’s side haven’t scored in the first half for 16 games now.

Angers kept just their second clean sheet of the season as they held high-flying Toulouse to a 0-0 draw on Saturday afternoon.

Toulouse returned to the scene where they completed the great escape in May, but could not repeat the same feeling as they had to rely on Albin Lafont to keep them in the game.

Finally, AS Nancy moved off the bottom of the Ligue 1 table after Anthony Koura scored to salvage a point at Bordeaux, a team they have failed to beat since April 2010.

Jeremy Menez 55th minute strike put the hosts ahead as Nancy went behind for the eighth time in ten games this season, but Koura equalised in the 74th minute.

League Table

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Ligue 1: Nice edge further clear at the top after passing Lyon test.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Mario Balotelli was less than convincing but his unbeaten Nice side moved four points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table with a 2-0 victory at home to ten-men Lyon, who had Nabil Fekir sent off.

Paul Baysee put his side ahead in the first five minutes before Jean Seri sealed the result with 14 minutes left to play.

Alexandre Lacazette made his comeback for the visitors in the closing stages, and Balotelli missed a penalty late on as he failed to add to his five league goals this season.

Edinson Cavani is one striker that wasn’t shy in front of goal as the PSG striker scored his ninth goal in eight games as his side edged out bottom side Nancy 2-1 at the Stade Marcel Picot.

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Cavani now has 12 goals in 10 matches for PSG in all competitions this season. (Image Credit: allomatch.com)

Cavani and Lucas Moura put PSG comfortably ahead before former Liverpool and West Ham midfielder Alou Diarra pulled a goal back but Unai Emery’s side held on for the win.

The victory means that the Champions have not lost against a promoted team in Ligue 1 since March 2013, a run that consists of 22 matches, and rise to second in the table.

That was because AS Monaco lost ground on Nice after becoming the second big team to lose at Toulouse, after Leonardo Jardim’s side fell to a 3-1 defeat despite taking the lead.

Martin Braithwaite scored two late goals to take his tally to six for the season, as the surprise package of the campaign came from behind to rise to fourth, whilst Monaco drop to third.

Valere Germain opened the scoring in the third minute but Braithwaite turned provider for Oscar Trejo to equaliser midway through the second half before the Toulouse striker run riot.

Marseille broke the record for the most matches played in Ligue 1 as their 2,369th top flight fixture ended in a 1-0 victory at home to Metz in the final game under the current ownership.

Bafitembi Gomes scored his sixth goal of the season to give Marseille back-to-back wins for the first time in almost a year, lifting them to just one point behind their opponents Metz.

Guingamp are still unbeaten at home this season and are up to fifth in Ligue 1 after Sloan Privat scored the winner in a 1-0 win over struggling Lille, who stay in the relegation zone.

The Gent loanee’s 32nd minute strike helped Guingamp continue their goalscoring run at home in 2016, where they have scored in all but one of their 14 games at the Stade du Roudourou.

The first Brittany derby of the season ended with Nantes coming away with the bragging rights after a 2-1 win at relegation threatened Lorient.

Yacine Bammou and Guillaume Gillet put the visitors 2-0 ahead before Pierre-Yves Hamel grabbed a late consolation but the win means 12th-placed Nantes are now unbeaten in their last 7 derbies.

Elsewhere, Angers ended an 11-game losing streak to win 2-1 at Bastia. The visitors had a horrid record when travelling to Corsica, but a brace from Famara Diedhiou either side of a Thievy Bifouma strike to secure the three points for Stephane Moulin’s side, who sit in tenth.

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Diedhiou has scored four goals since joining from Sochaux in the summer. (Image Credit: goal.com)

The most thrilling game of the week came in Montpellier, as they hosts edged out a five goal thriller against Caen. Fresh from his hat-trick last week, Rodrigue Ninga scored another two goals for the hosts, who had Steve Mounie sent off six minutes after scoring the hosts’ second.

Alaeddine Yahia and Ivan Santini were on target for Caen, who have now won just one of their last six matches in Ligue 1.

Finally, Bordeaux stretched their unbeaten run against Rennes to seven matches after a 1-1 draw, as a Nicolas Pallois equaliser ended Rennes 100% home record after Diego Contento’s first ever own goal put the hosts ahead.

Saint-Etienne had to rely on a 90th minute penalty from Nolan Roux to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to ten-men Dijon, who had Cedric Varrault sent off which resulted in the spot-kick.

Pierre Less-Melou had earlier given Dijon the lead, and it was almost a year to the day since ninth-placed Saint Etienne last failed to score a first half goal at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Ligue 1 Results:

Rennes 1-1 Bordeaux

Saint-Etienne 1-1 Dijon

Nancy 1-2 Paris Saint Germain

Bastia 1-2 Angers

Guingamp 1-0 Lille

Lorient 1-2 Nantes

Montpellier 3-2 Caen

Toulouse 3-1 Monaco

Nice 2-0 Lyon

Marseille 1-0 Metz

League Table

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Ligue 1: The good, the bad and the Balotelli.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Mario Balotelli scored an 86th minute winner to reinforce Nice’s position at the top of the Ligue 1 table, before he got sent off moments later in their 2-1 win at Lorient.

Balotelli netted his fifth goal in three league games since joining from Liverpool in the summer, and his goal means that Nice continued their incredible run in scoring in every match this season.

Lucien Favre’s side have now won four out of their last five games and remain a point clear of Monaco, and four points ahead of Champions PSG after the top three teams all won.

Monaco kept in touching distance of top spot with their biggest even away win in Ligue 1 history, thrashing ten-man Metz at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.

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Monaco couldn’t stop finding the net last weekend at Metz. (Image Credit: sport.interia.pl)

Guido Carrilo scored twice whilst Thomas Lemar, Bernardo Silva, Valere Germain, Fabinho and Boschilia also got on the scoresheet for Leonardo Jardim’s side,

Cheick Doukoure was sent off for Metz, who drop to eighth in the standings, whilst Monaco have scored a club record 22 goals from their opening eight matches.

Elsewhere, Edinson Cavani moved to the top of the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts, with another two goals as his brace helped PSG beat Bordeuax 2-0 at the Parc des Princes.

El Matador has now scored 11 goals in all competitions, but still gets negative criticism from some PSG fans as he looks to fill the void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The victory moves Unai Emery’s side back up to third in the table, after Toulouse slipped up, losing 1-0 at Caen courtesy of an Ivan Santini penalty.

Lyon claimed their bragging rights in the 113th Samba derby as goals from Sergi Darder and Rachid Ghezzal were enough to beat Saint-Etienne saw by a record crowd at Parc OL.

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This was Darder’s first ever ligue 1 goal. (Image Credit: sportsnet.ca)

More than 57,000 fans were in attendance as Lyon moved up to fifth, whilst Saint-Etienne drop to ninth with just their second defeat of the season.

In the second derby of the weekend, Stade Rennais left it late to beat Guingamp in the first meeting since the clash was renamed ‘Celtico’.

Adama Diakhaby scored the winner in stoppage time for the hosts, who maintained their 100% record at the Stade de la Route de Lorient.

To the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, and Lille moved off the bottom of Ligue 1 with a much-needed 1-0 at home to Nancy, who fall to the foot of the table at their expense after Eder’s first goal of the season secured the win for Frederic Antonetti’s side.

Meanwhile, Nantes moved out of the bottom three with their first win in seven matches after Maruisz Stepinski’s first-half effort helped the Canaries beat Bastia 1-0 on Saturday.

On the same day, Casimir Ninga scored a hat-trick, but Montpellier led a 3-1 lead slip as they were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Dijon courtesy of Yohann Riviere’s injury-time equaliser.

Finally, Marseille also conceded a late equaliser to drop points as they continue to struggle under Franck Passi. L’OM were held to a 1-1 draw at Angers after Pierrick Capelle cancelled out Florian Thuavin’s opener.

Ligue 1 Results:

Rennes 1-0 Guingap

Nantes 1-0 Bastia

Metz 0-7 Monaco

Lille 1-0 Nancy

Dijon 3-3 Montpellier

Caen 1-0 Toulouse

PSG 2-0 Bordeaux

Lyon 2-0 Saint-Etienne

Nice 2-1 Lorient

Angers 1-1 Marseille

League Table

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Ligue 1: PSG looking to return to winning ways against Bordeaux.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

Paris Saint-Germain eased any concerns about a ‘crisis’ at the club with a less than convincing 3-1 win at Ludogorets, but return to league action on Saturday when they host Bordeaux.

Edinson Cavani will look to answer his critics after receiving an indifferent reception since replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the club’s main striker in the summer.

However, after Alphonse Areola’s penalty save turned the tide in midweek, and Unai Emery’s side will have to be on their best form in this potential banana skin at the Parc de Princes, as they look to close the four-point gap on leaders Nice.

Before that, Rennes host Guingamp in the first Breton derby of the season, with the fixture officially being unveiled as ‘El Costico’ before the two sides face off on Friday evening.

Both sides go into the game at the Stade de la Route-de-Lorient having lost twice in the last three games, with the Rennes having beat their rivals just once in the previous six home games.

Another derby taking place this weekend is the Samba derby between Olympique Lyonnais and Saint-Etienne at the Parc OL. Christophe Galtier’s side had just ten fit outfield players last week and rested goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier in the Europa League yesterday.

Galtier confirmed after last night’s 1-1 draw with Anderlecht in the Europa League that he will use the club’s younger players on Sunday.

The hosts have also suffered from recent injury problems of their own, but are starting to see their full squad come together, with Nabil Fekir and Maxime Gonalons returning to the starting line-up.

The fixture has already seen its pre-game mind games, with Saint-Etienne blaming Lyon for limiting their away support to just 771, with the hosts claiming that the government confirmed the figure.

Elsewhere, Nice are the only unbeaten team left in Ligue 1 after seven matches, and Lucien Favre’s men will look to continue that run when they host Lorient, who moved off the bottom of the table last week.

Mario Balotelli scored his fifth goal in four games since joining from Liverpool in last night’s 5-2 defeat at Krasnador, but the striker is doubtful after suffering from a fever, but will they miss him?

Monaco will look to pounce on any potential slip-ups by Nice, but Leonardo Jardim’s side face a tricky visit to FC Metz, with the in-form striker Mevlut Erdinc having scored six goals in his last seven games.

The visitors, who sit in second, may have Radamel Falcao back from concussion after he sat out the 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday, but his side will have Kamil Glik in their ranks.

The centre-back has been in fine form since joining from Torino in the summer, and has been involved in every Monaco goal in the previous two matches.

Third-placed Toulouse are the surprise package so far this season, and they can go top if results go their way and they beat Caen when the two sides meet on Saturday.

However, coach Pascal Dupraz has warned that his side have yet to fulfil their potential, despite his players experiencing a positivity that he has never before seen at Toulouse.

They will head into the tie at the Stade Michel d’Ornano full of confidence after beating the Champions PSG 2-0, whilst missing top scorer Martin Braithwaite.

Lille are bottom of Ligue 1 for the first time since November 1995, with manager Frederic Antonetti under pressure.

They will be looking to end a run of four straight defeat when they face Nancy in a bottom of the table clash at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday evening.

Another manager under pressure is Marseille’s interim manager Franck Passi, despite his side beating Nantes 2-1 last week.

Marseille are in talks with potential new owners, and they’ll be hoping that this investment will bring a change of results.

Bafetimbi Gomis goes into the game on a rich vein of form, having scored five goals in his last seven matches and will no doubt cause Nancy problems on Sunday.

However, before last weekend’s defeat at Monaco, Angers had won three games on the bounce, and can be a tricky opponent.

Elsewhere on Saturday night, Dijon host Montpellier and Bastia make the trip to Nantes.

Ligue 1 Column: Paris is not the city of love for Unai Emery.

taylor by SCOTT TAYLOR

When a manager comes into a new role, it normally brings a sense of hope, positivity and optimism, but for Unai Emery, his honeymoon period as PSG manager is well and truly over before it has even begun.

The former Sevilla coach, 44, has found life in Paris tougher than expected with football, the global language, being the harder task to master rather than speaking French.

PSG suffered their second defeat in four away games on Friday, which means the Champions have now lost as many games as they did in the entirety of last season, despite only playing seven games.

The negative press surrounding the French Champions is not just a learning curve for Emery, who as many remember, failed to win a single away game at Sevilla last season.

Following almost five years of nothing but success, the Qatar Sports Investment are now realising what it is like to be going through a ‘crisis’, after strolling to 13 domestic honours under their ownership.

QSI’s contribution has obviously been a positive one, but is their tremendous success their own downfall, with the board and fans expecting trophies year on year?

When managing a European club of Paris Saint-Germain’s stature, there is no such thing as a transition period, not even for Emery, and the fans reminded him of this the defeat at Toulouse on Friday.

A lacklustre performance against a youthful side showed that the pressure is still firmly on Emery to perform with his side sitting fourth in Ligue 1, four points of the leaders Nice.

However, it is not just the PSG manager who is finding trouble filling the huge boots left by a triumphant successor.

Despite topping the Ligue 1 scoring charts with six goals from seven games, Edison Cavani is beginning to sense the difficulty of ‘replacing’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and not just with his goals.

Last season, PSG would have had little trouble overcoming Toulouse, and no doubt Ibrahimovic would have led his side to victory, with his captaincy just as effective as his goals, but not this year.

It seems whenever Cavani pulls on a PSG shirt, he is feeling the expectation of the legacy left by Ibrahimovic, and is sensing that he must score at least two or three goals EVERY game.

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Cavani is struggling to deal with the goal scoring burden left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. (Image Credit: bleacherreport.com)

There is no issue with the service he is being given, as he adjusts to his new role as the club’s main striker, with several excellent chances wasted, and if they went in, well, you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Some may argue that Emery cannot help that his players aren’t performing on the pitch which may be a valid point, but his decisions off the pitch isn’t helping himself or the team.

Let’s start off with Exhibit ‘A’, Hatem Ben Arfa. After a miserable ending to his Premier League career, the attacking midfielder was rejuvenated at Nice and earned a move to the French Champions.

However, Emery dropped him from the matchday squad for four games citing attitude and fitness problems as his downfall, something that didn’t go down too well with his team-mates or the press.

The last thing anyone wants to do is attract more limelight on themselves when they are managing a team well known around the world, unless you’re Sam Allardyce of course.

The unrest caused by the whole saga has intertwined with results on the pitch, and now it seems Emery must field a strong side at minnows Ludogorets to dig his side out of trouble.

The word trouble has been the story of PSG’s season so far, and it’s something that tends to follow Serge Aurier around.

The Ivorian full-back, who ironically signed from Toulouse, was sent off against his former side on Friday night before being hit with a two-month jail sentence after elbowing a police officer.

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Serge Aurier will be missing during a crucial period for Unai Emery and PSG. (Image Credit: bleacherreport.com)

The latest incident comes just seven months after the defender was suspended after using homophobic language to then coach Laurent Blanc, and with Thomas Meunier out with a knee injury, the problems continue for Emery.

After a frantic opening to his PSG career, Emery will be hoping that his tactical style of play, something that landed him the job in the first place, will soon be the topic of conversation.

What hasn’t helped Emery is the job done by Laurent Blanc, and fans must realise that PSG are just four points off the top of the table, with 31 games still left to play, and their still in the Champions League.

However, for the atmosphere to change, Emery needs results now. It has got to a stage where players such as Cavani and Di Maria have to play against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets in what is PSG’s biggest game of the season. Oh how things have changed.