Monday, February 24, 2020

Bordeaux, Marseille send title race down to the wire

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 23 May 2009


The French title race will go down to the final day after leaders Bordeaux maintained a three point lead over Marseille as both teams won nerve-wracking matches on Saturday.

The Girodins who are the only top flight club unbeaten at home this season, gave the Chaban-Delmas faithful more of the same with a superb goal against Monaco from Morocco’s Marouane Chamakh.

He rose above the defence including Monaco ‘keeper Stephane Ruffier on 35 minutes to head home from a Yoann Gourcuff free-kick from the left to grab a 1-0 victory.

That goal was enough to mean Bordeaux can seal their first title since 1999 with a draw agaisnt Caen next Saturday.

However they had to survive a late Monaco onslaught and a rightly disallowed goal for the visitors, before they could turn their attentions to Caen.

Marseille kept their outside chances alive thanks to a first-half own goal from Nancy’s Damian Macaluso who deflected Laurent Bonnart’s shot past his own ‘keeper on 32 minutes.

Brandao gave Marseille some breathing room with a close range finish before Landry N’Guemo pulled a goal back for Nancy to make for a nerve-shredding finale for Eric Geret’s side.

Their dreams of a first trophy since winning the Champions League in 1993 are still flickering after this 2-1 win as they host Rennes in their final outing.

With Bordeaux three points clear Marseille must win and hope Bordeaux lose to bring the title to the Velodrome.

Elsewhere, Juninho scored his 100th goal for Lyon from the penalty spot on 34 minutes as he put the outgoing champions in front at home to Caen in what is likely to be his last match in front of his home fans.

Sydney Govou guaranteed Lyon will definitely be in the Champions League qualifiers next season when he volleyed home a superb strike on 71 minutes following a great through ball from Swede Kim Kallstrom.

Juninho was substituted on 80 minutes and left in tears as the Gerland faithful gave the iconic Brazilian playmaker an emotional final ovation in gratitude to his fabulous eight-year career at the club.

Caen pulled a goal back but Karim Benzema scored his 17th of the season four minutes from time to give the 3-1 scoreline a shiny gloss.

Valenciennes coach Antoine Kombouare who is set to take over at Paris Saint Germain next season and replace Paul Le Guen, saw his future employers take the lead on 11 minutes when Serbian striker Mateja Kezman steered the ball home following good work from Ludovic Giuly who crossed from the right.

However the home side fought back to level the match 16 minutes after the restart when Johan Audel latched onto Gael Danic’s free-kick and headed past Mickael Landreau.

Audel then turned goal scorer minutes later when his weak shot was embarrassingly fumbled across the line by Landreau to give Valenciennes a 2-1 win.

At Nice, Andre-Pierre Gignac moved closer towards becoming the league’s top scorer when he bagged his 23 and 24th goals of the season to give Toulouse a 2-0 win at the Du Ray stadium and move them closer towards a place in the Europa League next season.

In the relegation battle, Sochaux kept their survival chances alive with a 2-1 win over Nantes but the ‘Canaries’ are on the verge of falling through the trap door for the second time in club history and the second time in three seasons.

First-half goals from Mevlut Erding and Nigerian-born Rabiu Afolabi put Sochaux in command at the break and although Bagayoko scored from the spot on 61 minutes, it wasn’t enough to save the eight-time champions.

Saint Etienne slipped back into the bottom three as they crashed 1-0 at Auxerre making for a nervous final match at home to Valenciennes.


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