Ligue One Roundup, Feb. 21
Lille made up ground in the French title race on Sunday after
substitute Pierre Aubameyang struck a late winner in a 2-1 victory
Elsewhere, Michel Bastos scored a hat trick to help Lyon rout
Sochaux 4-0, while Mamadou Niang performed the same feat for
Marseille in a 3-1 victory over Nancy at the Stade Velodrome.
Bordeaux tops the standings with 51 points, three clear of
second-place Montpellier, which lost 1-0 at Saint-Etienne on
Saturday. Lille is third with 47 points, one more than fourth-place
“The victory came from the bench, which means that the team’s
mindset is good,” Lille coach Rudi Garcia told Canal Plus
television. “We deserved the victory because we had the best
chances. We’ll try to go as high as possible (in the standings).”
In Rennes, Pierre-Alain Frau gave Lille a 10th minute lead,
setting off on a run from midfield before firing home a low
diagonal shot from the edge of the box, taking his tally to 10
goals this season.
Jerome Leroy equalized for Rennes in the 26th. Ghana forward
Asamoah Gyan jumped to divert a long ball from Kader Mangane toward
Leroy, who took a touch before beating goalkeeper Mickael Landreau
with a side-footed finish.
Lille nearly recaptured the lead from a corner in the 42nd
minute, when Adil Rami’s header crashed against the bar.
But Aubameyang made no mistake when he pounced on a rebound
to score from close range in the 89th minute after goalkeeper
Nicolas Douchez had blocked a shot from Stephane Dumont.
Rennes, down in ninth place with 37 points, is virtually out
of contention for a European spot.
In Sochaux, Bastos opened the scoring after four minutes with
a low free kick.
The Brazilian winger doubled the lead in the 24th with a
powerful strike under the bar off a cross from Bafetimbi Gomis.
Bastos added his third a minute later from a tight angle,
volleying home a high cross from Brazilian playmaker Honorato
Argentine forward Lisandro Lopez intercepted a backpass to
net his 10th goal this season and put the result beyond doubt in
the 78th minute.
“We’d like to play such matches every time,” Lyon defender
Jean-Alain Boumsong said. “There has been a lot of criticism over
our style of play but tonight our football was brilliant.”
Before the game, Sochaux’s American forward Charlie Davies
performed a ceremonial kickoff – an event held prior to the
official kickoff at the Stade Bonal.
Davies is recovering from severe injuries after a car crash
The American striker hopes to get in contention for a callup
to the United States squad for the World Cup in South Africa and is
trying to be fit to play for his club by the end of the season.
In Marseille, Senegal striker Niang outjumped the Nancy
defense to head in a cross from Charles Kabore in the ninth minute
to open the scoring.
Brazilian defender Andre Luiz leveled for Nancy four minutes
later off a pass from Issiar Dia.
But Niang volleyed home a cross from Taye Taiwo to make it
2-1 in the 34th before sealing the win in the 67th on a
counterattack, notching his 14th goal this season to become the top
goalscorer in the league.
“The most important thing is to win matches,” Niang said. “It
doesn’t matter who scores. We don’t care, we’re a team. We all want
to win together.”
Marseille remained in fifth place with 45 points but still
has a game in hand, while Nancy dropped to 14th place, level on
points with Sochaux.
Defending champion Bordeaux was scheduled to play Auxerre on
Saturday, but the match has been postponed to allow the French club
time to prepare for its Champions League game against Olympiakos
In Saturday’s other results, it was: Lens 3, Monaco 0; Nice
1, Lorient 0; Grenoble 0, Valenciennes 1; Paris Saint-Germain 1,
Toulouse 0; and Boulogne 1, Le Mans 3.