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Ligue 2 Review (Week 6)

A shake up in personnel resulted in a short absence of the popular weekly ‘Ligue 2 Review’. We are pleased to announce that the column is back and a new man has taken the reins, Simon Scutt.

He debuts on the back of a truly mouthwatering game-week of Ligue 2 action:

On Friday night across the length and breadth of France Ligue 2 roared back into action. And roar it most certainly did. Clearly reenergised by the international break the players set out on a mission to entertain.

With an average 3.1 goals per game this weekend, the spectators of matchday six were treated to goals. However there was a definite element of feast or famine with regard to goals. While 31 goals went in during 7 of the matches there was still scope for three 0-0s.

Going into Friday’s matches Angers were joint top of the league with 13 points and were faced with the prospect of making the short trip to Laval. Stade Lavallois were bottom of the league after five defeats from five games and tellingly only 2 goals in their favour. All signs were pointing to a Angers win; however Les Tangos did not read the script. Christian Bekamenga opened the scoring for Laval on 14 minutes. Angers did manage to equalise through Ludovic Gamboa on 33 minutes but from then on in, it was all Laval. In a 25 minute spell either side of half time they killed off any potential threat of a Angers comeback. Antony Robic, Mamadou Diallo and Hassane Alla running in goals for the home side. The men in orange will hope this result can kick-start their season while promotion hopefuls Angers will hope that this was merely a blip.

Arles-Avignon took on Caen on Friday and gave us another entertaining game. Caen had a fairly comfortable 2-0 lead at half time at Le Parc des Sports with both goals coming from main-man Mathieu Duhamel. Whatever was said at half time clearly worked as Arles-Avignon came out and turned things around. A quick-fire brace from former FC Nantes man Maurice Dale levelled things around the hour mark. Then substitute Yunis Abdelhamid got the winner which marked a remarkable turnaround. 

In another match of twists and turns, FC Metz welcomed Nimes to the north-east quarter of France. Metz, having been promoted back into Ligue 2 for this season, have started the season well with 11 points from six games. They dominated the first half and took a one nil lead after the first period. They took the lead through a lovely well worked free-kick route finished well by Yeni Ngbakato. Nimes came back at Metz in the second half with a corner routine of their own and Aurelien Boche heading the ball into the net. With 11 minutes to go Riad Nouri beat the Metz keeper from the six yard box to take a lead somewhat against the run of play. Metz were not done though, they kept pushing and searching for that equaliser. It arrived in the 90th minute when Nicolas Fauvergue nodded home.

Creteil welcomed Nancy in match that hammered home the reality of Ligue 2 for both clubs. Benjamin Jeannot opened the score for ASNL just before the pause. Creteil, who have made a very encouraging start to life in Ligue 2, made it difficult for themselves on the hour mark. They were reduced to ten men when Augusto Pereira Loureiro was adjudged to have denied the opposition of a goal scoring opportunity. However USCL did not give up, nor were they particularly overawed with playing one of the big boys.  A 91st minute corner was parried up in the air before being headed into the net by Cheikh Ndoye.

One team who is making light of off-field problems is Tours. They managed to appeal  a administrative relegation in the summer and they now find themselves in third place. However, they will be disappointed not to have taken all the points from their match at home to Istres. Tours raced into a two goal lead through an own goal, then Julien Cetout doubled the advantage on 14 minutes. Istres are still yet to win a game this season, taking 3 draws and 2 losses from their first 5 matches. They did reduce the deficit on 37 minutes through Florian Tardieu. Istres were effective with their set pieces coming from the evergreen Jerome Leroy. They did equalise through loanee  striker Cheick Diarra who was making his first appearance for ISOP. Istres have made something of a habit of coming back from losing positions but the fans will hope to the team can limit the number of heart-in-mouth moments this season.

The big Saturday lunchtime clash saw Le Havre welcome Lens to their Stade Oceane. RC Lens who were leaders with the best defence took on a Le Havre side team yet to win a match. It was not an auspicious start for Le Havre as they conceded after 4 minutes when Pablo Chavarria found the net. However, they were not in the lead for long as Yohann Riviere levelled things up after 9 minutes tapping home. From then on Lens’ defence simply imploded, catastrophically so. 3 goals in ten minutes from Walid Mesloub (twice) and Riyad Mahrez put the score at 4-1 after the first 45. It did not get any better for Antoine Kombouare’s men as Moussa Sao made it 5-1 after 63 minutes. Danijel Ljuboja did get a consolation for Lens but that was all. The rout was completed with a classy finish from Alexandre Bonnet on 73 minutes. The final score of 6-2 and a simply incredible mad match will serve as a wake-up call for Lens and their promotion aspirations.

Newly-relegated from Ligue 1, ESTAC Troyes, enjoyed a routine victory over a young Chateauroux side. Ghislain Gimbert scored a brace either side of a Benjamin Nivet penalty. Consequently, in Chateauroux’s conceding of that very penalty, they were reduced to ten men. Their last away victory came in March 2012, coincidentally at Troyes. 

In the other games there were no goals scored. CA Bastia entertained Dijon whilst Chamois Niortais welcomed Clermont. CA Bastia will want to avoid the same fate as fellow islanders Gazelec Ajaccio suffered last season when their financial difficulties and relegation to the 3rd division resulted in much unhappiness in Corsica. Dijon have endured a difficult start to the campaign, with only one victory from their six games. Niort upset the odds last year in achieving safety and will likely be on the same mission this time around. Clermont managed to pull away from the danger zone just at the right time last season and should hope to build on a decent start with 3 wins 2 draws and 1 loss.

The game-week climaxed on Monday night when Stade Brestois travelled to Auxerre. Both sides have plenty of Ligue 1 experience and have had steady if not unspectacular starts to their campaigns. The match was lively without being heavy on goal-mouth action. Brest did well to stifle Paul-Georges Ntep and will be happy with their point away from Brittany.

With joint-leaders Lens and Angers both receiving shocks to the system, only Troyes won in the top six. In matchday seven, fifth host fourth when Metz go to Clermont and Lens will have to be on their guard against Creteil at home. While Troyes and Nancy will be able to pretend it’s last season‘s Ligue 1 again as they battle it out. Ligue 2 is invariable tight and unpredictable until the very last, let’s hope we get the same level of entertainment as this week. 

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