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Ligue 2 Review (Week 10)

Going into October’s international break the top of Ligue 2 was delicately poised with no side really in the ascendency. Just four points separated the top nine teams and game week ten saw the table become even tighter after some intriguing results.

The big winners, in every sense, of the weekend were Troyes who dished out a 6-1 thumping of CA Bastia. Benjamin Nivet got the party started on the half hour mark with a lovely 25 yard free kick hitting the back of the net. Troyes dominated the first half but had to content themselves with a single goal lead at the break. In treacherous conditions Troyes made the Corsicans suffer. Benjamin Psaume made it two from a cut back free-kick. Nivet got the third after a weak parry from the goalkeeper left him with the easiest of finishes. Psaume got his second after a nice pass from Nivet allowed him to fire home from the angle of the box. 

Things would get worse when an awful defensive clearance left Quentin Othon to score easily. Bastia pulled one back just before the end when Alexandre Cropanse placed the ball past the Troyes goalkeeper for a consolation goal. Completing the rout for Troyes was Corentin Jean after a pinball style melee ensued after the ball had hit the Bastia crossbar. Frankly crazy scenes as it was 1-0 with 21 minutes left on the clock then seeing 6 goals ran in, in a helter-skelter end of the game.

One of the stories of the season in Ligue 2 is obviously FC Metz. Having been promoted back to the second tier at the first time of asking. They hosted Chateauroux on Friday night, a game where Metz would look to get back to winning ways after their loss of Lens the previous week. In the first half Metz were on the attack for most of it but it was Chateauroux who had the best chance of the match. The first half thus finished goalless. Metz would score the only goal of the game in the 59th minutes when Kwame Nsor headed home from a corner.

Caen made the long trip down south to Nimes for Friday night’s game, however after 25 minutes the game had to be stopped due to the weather conditions. Thus, the game was to be re-played the following day. No weather issues this time around as the weather was dry and clear. It was the away side that started the best opening the score after a quarter of an hour. Faycal Fayir scored an exquisite 20 yard curled finished for the corner of the box. Nimes would level things up in the 23rd minute when Pierre Bouby’s shot took a large deflection in order to beat Percquis in the Caen net. Nimes would take the lead on the stroke of half time when Samir Benmeziane poked home. Both sides missed clear chances in the second half. Mathieu Duhammel will be most disappointed with his header not finding the target. And so, it finished. Nimes took a precious victory to pull them away from the danger-zone.

Brest travelled down to Tours to take on the league’s best attack and was soon suffering as a result of said attacking prowess. Just six minutes into the game Tours took the lead when Kévin Diaz turned home a parried shot. Brest had one victory in six going into this game and they would level the score half an hour later. Nicolas Verdier’s near post shot beat the Tours keeper. The match was fairly bitty and the rhythm was not helped by the number of fouls and subsequent yellow cards handed out, six in total. Alex Dupont, the Brest manager was seemingly very frustrated on the touchline. Brest’s promotion challenge not looking too promising at the moment whereas Tours are consolidating their position as contenders.

Looking towards the bottom of the table, Istres had dropped into the danger zone and went to Clermont looking to climb out of the drop-zone. Clermont had become something of the draw specialists, their last five matches ending in stalemates. Istres were without their main goal threat Cheick Diarra in this match and it showed as they really were found wanting in front of goal. Clermont dominated from start to finish and took the lead in the 58th minute when Thibaut Moulin flicked home a free kick. Clermont would later seal the victory when Jordan Nkololo scored in stoppage time at the end of the match. A routine win for Clermont ending their series of draws, Istres still in danger.

In the other matches, Leaders Angers travelled to Creteil. Neither side was effective in front of goal, most attempts ending up off target. A goalless draw a logical if unfulfilling result for both sides.  Lens went down to Avignon looking to build on their last victory against Metz. Lens had the best chance of the first half but the first period would not produce a goal. It would arrive in the second half though, when Pablo Chavarria headed into an empty net on 57 minutes. Maurice Dale equalised for Arles-Avignon when he swept home in the 71st minute. The home side would go on to miss a handful of potential game winning chances. Both sides would have to settle for a draw.

Auxerre found themselves in a disappointing fifteenth place ahead of entertaining Laval. Paul-Georges Ntep got the first goal on the hour mark when his free-kick went straight in, beating everyone on the way. Lynel Kitambala scored the second after 72 minutes giving Auxerre the victory.

Niort hosted Nancy in an entertaining game on Friday night. The hosts were in dreamland after eleven minutes they found themselves two goals to the good. Florian Martin helping himself to a brace thanks to some poor Nancy defending. Nancy were handed a lifeline in the 27th minute when Benjamin Moukandjo scored a penalty and things were soon level when a Lossemy Karaboue thunderbolt found the net. Rodolphe Roche in the Niort goal saw red late on for a rush of blood to the head. A complicated situation for Niort going into their next match having had their goal keeper send off in both of their last two matches.

Finally, Dijon went to Le Havre enjoying a three match winning streak and a solitary goal conceded in their last six games. While the sides created a number of half-chances they simply were not able to turn them into anything resembling a goal. And as such, the game petered out to a nil-nil.

Looking ahead to game-week eleven top of the table Angers welcome Niort, Lens will take on Nimes at home whilst Metz have an intriguing trip to Brest on the Monday night. 

Simon Scutt, Get French Football News 

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