Lorient 0-1 Reims:
Lorient dominated the first half of the game, and saw a lot more of the ball than their visitors from lower down in the table, but were unable to create any real clear-cut chances at the business end. When the second half began, it was more of the same from Lorient, but as the game developed Reims saw more and more of the play…
In the 72nd minute came the crucial moment of the match, when Moukandjo finished off some slick Reims combination play down the right to give his side the lead. After holding off some late Lorient pressure, Reims will return home with a crucial three points. Lorient will be bitterly disappointed by their performance, particularly in the final third.
Metz 3-1 Bastia:
A brilliant game to watch for the neutral, and indeed for every Metz fan out there. The home side started strongly, and took a deserved lead when Sergei Krivets struck in the 14th minute. From then on, Metz looked relatively comfortable, but were struck with an early contender for goal of the season. Cahuzac floated a 50 yard pass to Ayite, who let it drop over his shoulder and hit is on the volley first time right into the far corner to equalise for Bastia just before the break.
Metz, though, were undeterred, and responded in the second half when Milan restored their lead. The ball dropped to the tall centre back around the 6 yard box, and he applied an acrobatic finish to send the home fans into delirium. After that goal, Bastia were forced to go for it, and were caught by a stinging Metz counter. They broke with devastating speed, with Falcon applying a smart, clinical finish to complete the move. It was a deserved win for an impressive Metz side.
Nantes 2-1 Nice:
It is hard to sum up just how bad Nice were in the first half of this match. Defensively, they were all over the shop, and Nantes found a way through time and time again. Djolobodji gave Nantes an early lead after he headed in (via a few deflections) from a corner almost completely unmarked. If that was a warning signal, Nice did not take it. From another corner, this time Vizcarrondo was unmarked, and his goal bound header drew a fantastic save from Hassen.
If Nice’s defending was bad until Nantes’ second goal, it dropped to a whole new low. Shechter robbed the defence and then simply ran, unchallenged, into the Nice box, and fired in a low shot past a helpless Hassen. Nantes kept creating chances after the break, and it was amazing how Nice were still just 2-0 down. As tends to happen in football, Nantes were almost punished for their missed chances. Out of nothing, Amavi headed home from a corner at the near post to reduce the deficit. However, despite late Nice pressure, Nantes were able to hang on to claim a 3 points that should have been far more routine.
Toulouse 3-3 Caen:
This was probably the best game of the season so far. Raspentino struck early for the visitors Caen as he sent a wonderful, curling shot into the top corner on the spin past a diving Boucher. However, Toulouse were able to respond to going a goal down as Caen gave away their third penalty of the season. Vercoutre took down Doumbia inside the box, and Ben Yedder stepped up to equalise for the home side.
The flow of the game then went back and forth in the second half, with neither side looking particularly like scoring. That is, until the 76th minute. A breathless 10 minutes of football was to follow. First, Nangis burst through the centre of the Toulouse defence and sent a powerful shot past Boucher to restore Caen’s lead. Then, just 7 minutes later, Caen gave away yet another penalty, and this time Regattin stepped up and equalised from the spot.
In the 86th minute, Caen thought they had won it, when Calve scored a wonderful free kick, curling his effort right in to the top corner from the edge of the box. But Toulouse had the final say as, right from kick off, Ninkov was played through, and he lofted the ball over Vercoutre to score the final goal of the match. And so a brilliantly entertaining match ended 3-3, with Toulouse and Caen sharing the spoils.