Greg Stephens brings you all the weekends proceedings in his Ligue 1 round-up.
After putting on a good show against Arsenal – despite losing – Montpellier were looking to finally kick-start their domestic season with what would have been their first home victory of the campaign on Friday night. Christophe Galtier’s Saint-Étienne had other ideas, though, and would have come away from Stade de la Mosson with all three points had it not been for a 70th-minute Souleymane Camara equaliser. René Girard’s team are currently one point above the relegation zone and have only won once this season in eight attempts – not quite the run of form you’d expect from the defending champions…
Paris Saint-Germain enjoyed an early kick-off in Bastia on the Saturday, and sailed to a comfortable 4-0 victory. Jérémy Menez opened the scoring in the sixth-minute with his first goal of this campaign. Zlatan Ibrahimović bagged a brace to take his tally for the season to seven and Blaise Matuidi was the other goalscorer; his second ever goal for Les Parisiens. This win was very much a statement of intent from Carlo Ancelotti’s star-studded side that saw them take third place.
Lorient had dropped to fourth as PSG had overtaken them with their victory earlier that evening. They had the opportunity to prevent PSG taking that third spot though as they hosted OGC Nice at the Stade du Moustoir. After the theatrics of last week, winning with just nine men on the field, Lorient were hoping to restore a bit of order this week. They were without their #1 ‘keeper, Fabien Audard, and full-back, Maxime Baca, through suspension. Yet another red card ensued for Les Merlus as Grégory Bourillon was dismissed in the sixthy-sixth minute. Lorient, with their backs against the wall yet again, managed to retain their unbeaten start to the season thanks to Kévin Monnet-Paquet. He came off the bench to rescue his side a point in the 89th-minute.
Last-minute drama wasn’t just a feature of Nice’s trip to Lorient, however, as Toulouse denied Rennes their first victory of the season with seconds to go. The goalscorer? None other than Ali Ahamada – Toulouse’s goalkeeper. The best thing is: it was an outrageously good goal; a diving header that even the best of centre-forwards would enjoy.
Sochaux, having secured their first win of the season last time out, made it two consecutive victories as they overcame the defiant ESTAC Troyes. Troyes made a good go of it, and it was a very open encounter and Troyes could have easily scored more than one. Sochaux went into cruise-control in the 56th-minute when Troyes were reduced to ten-men, easing their way to victory and doubling their points tally for the season. Stade de Reims continued their strong start to the season with yet another three points. Victors over defending champions Montpellier last week, Reims beat Nancy 2-0 which saw them rise to fifth in the league. After suffering a 4-2 loss to Nice last week, Brest returned to winning ways as they beat Valenciennes 2-1 at home, making it three consecutive victories at home this season.
Sunday’s fixtures included all the teams that had been involved in Europa League action on the Thursday. Bordeaux, emphatic winners midweek, were held to a home draw against Ajaccio. Whilst it will be seen as Bordeaux dropping points, they still maintain an unbeaten record this season so you can’t fault them too much. Both Marseille and Lyon continued the trend too, with the former beating Evian 1-0 (Amalfitano) and Lyon salvaging a late point in the Grand Stade Lille Métropole courtesy of Lisandro López. That makes it three in three for the Argentinian since returning to side, whilst Amalfitano’s goal for Marseille widened the gap at the top of the league to four points as Lyon fail to keep up with the pace.