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Ligue 2 Review (Weeks 7 and 8)

Simon Scutt presents you with the most detailed Ligue 2 review you will find on the past two gameweeks which happened in quick succession; anywhere, in any language. Enjoy. 

With 2 games in quick succession it certainly was a busy week for Ligue 2’s players and managers this week. The vast majority of teams were in action on Friday night. Here’s a recap of the action.

Anyone dawdling outside Le Stade Francois-le-Blé in Brest around kick off time on Friday would have been left mightily disappointed as both goals of the game came in the first six minutes of the clash between Stade Brestois and CA Bastia.

The first shot of the game brought about the Bretons’ first goal, when Johann Ramar’s fierce shot hit the top corner. The shot may have been ever so slightly deflected on its way in by the defender.

That was nothing like the gift presented sixty seconds later. Adrien Monfray received the ball on the edge of his penalty area when he totally lost his footing and Geoffrey Dernis  was left with the easiest of finishes. The 2012 Ligue 1 champion making it 2-0 after a mere six minutes and thus it remained for the next 84 minutes.

Caen entertained Niort and the side from Normandy were going through a worrying slump, they had not won in three and last week they gave up a 2 nil lead to lose 3-2 at Arles-Avignon. This week things started as well as they had the previous week as Jonathan Kodjia rifled the ball in from the edge of the area on 7 minutes.

Then, a sumptuous right footed curling free kick from Fayçal Fajr doubled the advantage.   Caen were deprived of top scorer Mathieu Duhammel’s services for this encounter through injury and they could not get that third goal to put the matter beyond doubt. When Jimmy Roye got one back for Niort in the 67thminute and Caen must have feared groundhog day.

However, thanks to some charitable defending from a corner Molla Wague was able to put their minds at ease when  he made it 3-1. That result ended Niort and Ligue 2’s only undefeated record.

Lens were heavily beaten by Le Havre last time out and needed a performance to consolidate their position as joint league leaders. They were at home to newly promoted Creteil and expected to win.

However USCL have proved to be difficult opposition thus far this season. Lens already found this out to their cost in a 4-3 loss to Creteil in the Coupe de la Ligue earlier on this season.

Lens opened the scoring on 26 minutes when Adamo Coulilbaly pounced on a horrible error the Creteil keeper when he hesitated on the ball in his area. He had, to his credit, made a wonderful save a few minutes prior to the rick.

The lead lasted up until just before half time, when Faneva Andriatsima headed home from a free kick. In the end, both teams had opportunities but could not score. The draw suiting Creteil a lot more than it did Lens.

Nancy took on Troyes with the worst home record in the league, just the sole point taken at home so far. However, they were given a helping hand when Troyes defender Lionel Carole poked the ball past his own goalkeeper after 13 minutes.

It would not last though, Nancy gave away a penalty just after the break and Benjamin Nivet  did the rest. Nevertheless, Nancy managed to come back as Lossemy Karaboue rounded the keeper and with a bit of neat footwork gave Nancy their first home win of the season.

Tours who are troubling oppositions defences the most this season having racked up fourteen goals in six games before Friday’s trip to Dijon. Dijon who were languishing down in 16th with a single victory to their name needed to get a result.

They got off the mark thanks to a long pass along the ground which seemed to rip the Tours defence asunder. Abdoulaye Bamba side-footing the ball home. Tours dominated the second half but their main efforts were speculative at best. With ten minutes to go on the watch Dijon hit Tours on the counter attack.

Breaking from the back, the ball was played to a wide position outside of the box for Koro Koné to make it 2-0. The result knocked Tours out of the top three and began Dijon’s climb up the table.

The leaders Angers had suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at lowly Laval in gameweek six. They faced Auxerre on Saturday lunchtime, Auxerre who were in mid-table with only one victory to their name. Angers got back to winning ways, they opened the scoring on the stroke of half time. It was a lovely flowing move that brought about the goal.

New recruit Ismael Keita strode through the Auxerre defence before laying off to Richard Sorcier whose exquisite back-heel found Khaled Ayari who finished with aplomb. Auxerre had attempts on goal but they tended to come from long range which didn’t pose too many problems for Gregory Malicki in the Angers net.

Then, in stoppage time, Angers made the victory sure with another delightful goal. Vincent Manceau collected the ball from a clearance and switched it to the unmarked Mohamed Yattara who with a slight of foot stroked it home.

In the 4th vs 5th showdown between Clermont and Metz neither side produced much offensively and the game petered out to a stalemate. This was Clermont’s third consecutive goalless draw; what’s more was that they hadn’t scored since the 16th august in the league. A worrying streak.

In a match featuring two teams towards the foot of the table; Istres beat Laval 3-0. ISOP took the lead through Florian Tardieu on 18 minutes before having to wait until the very last ten minutes of the match when goals from Cheick Diarra and Matheus made the result secure.

Le Havre travelled to Chateauroux full of confidence after their comprehensive victory over Lens the previous Saturday. Buoyed by that result, the Normans took the lead after just two minutes through Alexandre Bonnet.

They were pegged back though, the home side equalising thanks to Christopher Maboulou 37 minutes. In the second half it was Bonnet again who gave Le Havre the lead but this would only last ten minutes as Christian Kinkela made it two-all.

Finally, down in the south of France Nimes played Arles-Avignon. The visitors going into this game had lost all their away games, but had managed to win all their home games. They managed to put that straight at Nimes though.

Two goals from Livio Nabab, the first from a freekick routine when he smashed the ball home from ten yards out. The second a powerful run into the box followed by a simple finish across goal.

In between those two there was a sublime finish from Nimes’ Mame Cissokho. Cutting in from the right hand side of the penalty area he side-footed a floating loft shot over the keeper and into the top corner.

Overall, game-week seven saw Angers take a two point cushion atop Ligue 2 behind them it was Lens and another two points back were a whole cluster of clubs on 12 points. 3 point separating third place Caen down to Dijon in 13th. Chateauroux, Laval and CA Bastia made up the bottom three.

Game Week Eight.

The games came thick and fast as Lens travelled to Tours on Monday night. Tours who failed to find the net for the first time this season against Dijon on Friday were looking bounce straight back against the northerners. They bounced right back with a impressive performance and victory.

On the half-hour mark striker Andy Delort fired home after he latched onto a lovely headed flick-on beating the Lens defence. Tours doubled their lead on the cusp of halftime; Delort again sending the Tours crowd into raptures. He latched onto a long ball and holding off the challenges of the defence fired home.

Twenty minutes into the second period Lens were back in with a shout. Jérome Lemoigne hitting a wonderfully skilful 20 yard swerving effort. It was not to be  not long after Tours won a penalty. Which was smashed into the roof of the net by Youssef Adnane. This will be a blow to Lens after their disappointing draw with Creteil on Friday. Tours, meanwhile, overtook Lens in third position.

Tuesday night saw one of France’s main regional derbies return as Nancy travelled to Metz. This was the first time in five years this game had been played and used to be a fixture of Ligue 1. The match was played in front of a sold out crowd of 24,000 people. Unfortunately, the match had to be briefly halted as projectiles were being thrown onto the pitch.

Metz took the lead on 8 minutes after Yeni Ngbakoto’s diving header from ten yards sent the home crowd wild. In the second period the game was a end to end spectacle, becoming stretched towards the end. With Nancy seeking the equaliser Metz were able to counter-attack as Bouna Sarr was able to beat the on rushing keeper with Nancy leaving most of their eleven on the attack.

Things got worse for Nancy as Kwame Nsor consigned Nancy to their first away defeat of the season after he smashed the ball home two minutes later. A convincing score and result for Metz who are enjoying their return to Ligue 2, lying in second place as they do.

Almost equally the Lorraine derby for entertainment was when Angers went to Troyes.   The first was very much dominated by the leaders Angers who took the lead after only five minutes. On-loan striker Mohamed Yattara scored his second of the season he was once more amongst the goals after 31 minutes.

Troyes, booed off at half time needed to react. However it was Angers who carried on as before. That man Yattara scoring his third; making matters worse was the fact that he spent last season on loan at Troyes. Three nil and looking all but done.

However, Troyes were not done. Two quick goals from top-scorer Ghislain Gimbert rattled Angers and breathed new life into Troyes. Marcos finished a remarkable comeback in scoring the third on 78 minutes. 3 goals in eleven minutes an impressive comeback for Troyes.

The last time Laval played at home they enjoyed a tremendous success against Angers and they found themselves needing to replicate that against Brest.

Things started well with Christian Bekamenga turning and finishing from the edge of the 18 yard line. Brest woke up in the second half and equalised through Nicolas Verdier in the 54th minute. Laval were able, however, to regain the advantange through Amara Baby. An important victory for les Tangos.

Clermont were struggling in front of goal before the visit of Caen. No goals in their last 4 matches, getting on for over 500 minutes with finding the net. The first half of this match did nothing to improve matters but Grégory Bettiol did manage to break Clermont’s duck on 53 minutes.

The lead did not last long; Caen won a much disputed penalty shortly after. Prodigal son Jerome Rothen opened his account for the season and levelled the game up at 1-1. Caen who have never lost at Clermont received a large slice of fortune on 75 minutes when Jacques Salze put past his own keeper.

The result looked to be done and dusted before the 93rd minute equaliser from Emmanuel Imorou rescued a point for Clermont. This result dropped Caen out of the top three and kept Clermont in seventh.

In a midtable clash between Creteil and Dijon the newly promoted side were looking to extend their good start to the season. However after their keep was caught in no-man’s land when dealing with a  corner left Zakaria Diallo to apply the finish giving Dijon a first half lead.

At the beginning of the second half it was Creteil who started the better and were level through Cheikh Ndoye. Dijon looking for their first away win of the season were playing well and their superiority was to tell.  Greogry Thil and Koro Koné scoring and making the three points safe.

In the other matches that took place on Tuesday, Le Harve scored a routine victory against Istres with Riyad Mahrez scoring the only goal of the game. Auxerre won against CA Bastia at home despite losing Willy Boly to a red card.

It was Sebastian Haller with the only goal. Niort won comfortably against Nimes 2-1 thanks to goals from Jimmy Roye and Kevin Rocheteau’s penalty. Nimes however scored a late consolation from Mame Cissokho.  

The points were shared between Arles-Avignon and Chateauroux as Maurice Dalé cancelled out the Maxime Bourgeois’s opener from the away side.

All in all, Angers retain their two point lead at the top of the table. Metz have a slender one point lead in second. Tours take third on goal difference from Lens in fourth. The bottom three remains the same with Laval, Chateauroux and CA Bastia looking to get out of the drop-zone. 

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