French Ligue One Roundup, Sep. 11

BY foxsports • September 11, 2010

Laurent Battles' goal gave Saint-Etienne a 1-0 win at French league leader Toulouse on Saturday to end his former club's perfect record this season.

The 34-year-old Battles, who started his career in Toulouse 17 years ago, scored in the 34th minute with a header as Saint-Etienne claimed its third win in five matches to move up to third overall with 10 points.

"Before the match we told ourselves it would be really good to beat the leader," said Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier. "We were better from the start and it paid off. We struggled a bit after halftime because they attacked more and it was difficult to keep them at bay."

Toulouse still tops the standings with 12 points, one clear of Rennes, which beat Sochaux 2-1 from Abdou Kader Mangane's goal in stoppage time.

Paris Saint-Germain ended a three-game losing streak in all competitions with a 4-0 win over last-place Arles, while Lyon was held to a 1-1 home draw by Valenciennes.

Defending champion Marseille hosts Monaco on Sunday.

Saint-Etienne dominated possession from the start and was rewarded for its efforts when Battles collected defender Albin Ebondo's cross at the penalty spot and slotted home with a powerful header that left goalkeeper Mathieu Valverde stranded.

Ebondo also played for Toulouse for eight seasons before joining Saint-Etienne during the summer.

Toulouse should have leveled in the 70th but midfielder Machado hit the crossbar.

Lyon failed to convert its numerous chances in the second half after scoring early in the opening 45 minutes and lost two more points after Gaetan Bong headed home from a corner in the 69th.

Lyon, which will face Schalke in Tuesday's Champions League round, is enduring its worst start in the French league in a decade with only five points in as many games.

"It's a pity because you would have seen a completely different game should we have scored a second goal," playmaker Yoann Gourcuff said. "We played too fast and we lost too many balls. We are disappointed."

Homegrown midfielder Jeremy Pied gave Lyon the lead in the 26th minute with a precise header.

Montpellier conceded its two first goals this season in a 2-1 home loss to Nancy and moved down to fourth with eight points.

The southern team got off to a strong start and created its first chance after two minutes when striker Hasan Kabze was set up in the box and shot from close range but saw his effort saved by defender Michael Chretien on the line.

Montpellier conceded its first goal this season three minutes later after goalkeeper Geoffroy Jourdren saved Landry N'Guemo's strike but couldn't hold onto the ball and Djamel Bakar scored from the rebound.

The visitors then moved two goals up in the 34th courtesy of Bakaye Traore, who showed great technique before slotting home.

Nancy played most of the second half with 10 men after defender Joel Sami was sent off in the 49th.

Midfielder Marco Estrada pulled one back for Montpellier in the 50th with a direct free kick into the top left corner.

PSG dominated and broke the deadlock in the 18th when striker Guillaume Hoarau collected a cross from the right and coolly hit home.

Defender Mamadou Sakho struck in the 29th from a corner and Nene capped the convincing win with two goals in the 49th and 56th minutes.

At Rennes, midfielder Kevin Teophile Catherine scored his maiden first-division goal with a powerful header from a corner to put the home team ahead in the 5th.

Damien Perquis put his team back in the match when left unmarked in the box he headed home from a free kick in the 37th but Mangane surged at the far post three minutes into stoppage time to give his team the three points.

In Saturday's late game, Lille secured its first win of the season with a 4-1 triumph at fierce rival and northern neighbor Lens, which played with nine men for nearly 45 minutes.

Ivory Coast striker Gervinho put Lille ahead in the 23rd minute with an angled left-footed shot before Lens players Sebastien Roudet and Issam Jemaa were red-carded in the 41st and 46th minutes respectively.

Lens stood firm for a while as Razak Boukari headed in Bedimo's cross at the penalty spot for the equalizer but caved in near the end, with Pierre-Alain Frau scoring a double in the 79th and 81st minutes and Gervinho adding another goal in the 87th.

Brest host Lorient on Sunday and Nice plays Bordeaux while Marseille's newly signed striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is expected to make his debut at the Stade Velodrome against Monaco.

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