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Rennes went top of Ligue 1 on Saturday evening, but Nancy and Lens failed to ease their relegation fears.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Arles-Avignon 1–1 Nancy
Racing Club de Lens 1–1 Auxerre
Stade Rennais 1-0 Monaco
Sochaux 2–1 Valenciennes
Toulouse 1–0 Caen
Montpellier 1-2 Olympique Lyonnais

Sunday, December 5

Lille 6-3 Lorient
Nice 1-0 Olympique de Marseille
Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Stade Brestois
Saint-Etienne 2-2 Girondins de Bordeaux

Arles-Avignon 1–1 Nancy

Nancy had to come from behind to salvage a point against Ligue 1 whipping boys Arles.

Yet to win at home all season going into Saturday’s game, ACA opened the scoring after just eight minutes. Jamel Ait Ben Idir set free Camel Meriem, who in turn fed Franck Dja Djedje, who clipped the ball over Damien Gregorini and into the net.

The hosts allowed Nancy in to level much too easily. A long clearance was headed forward by Benjamin Gavanon. This unlocked the entire home defence, with Youssouf Hadji outstripping Alvaro Meija to score.

It was Faruk Hadzibegic’s side who looked the more dangerous as time slipped away, with Kaba Diawara hitting the post, but they were unable to find the winning goal that would have rekindled some hope that they can beat the drop.

Racing Club de Lens 1–1 Auxerre

Lens failed to ease their problems at the foot of the table as Auxerre struck late on to salvage a point.

Alaeddine Yahia enjoyed a terrific opening 30 minutes, capping it with the opening goal of the game, when he headed in from Kanga Akale’s free kick. Previously, he had made an inspired challenge to deny Dennis Oliech a certain goal.

With four minutes of normal time remaining, AJA benefitted from a corner incorrectly awarded as Jean-Pascal Mignot headed home.

Ten minutes later after the opener Eduardo had the ball in the net but wasn’t allowed to celebrate as he was flagged for offside.

Auxerre’s best chance came midway through the second half when Alain Traore set up Julien Querica, who failed to find the target when given rare space by les Sang et Or’s rearguard.

Yahia would charge onto another corner kick, but his header flashed wide of goal, and this miss would be swiftly punished at the opposite end.

Sochaux 2–1 Valenciennes

The remarkable form of Sochaux continued as they held off a Valenciennes fight back to secure three more points.

Carlao was the unlikely scorer of the opening goal. There was nothing unusual about the provider as Ligue 1’s top assist man Marvin Martin picked out the defensive midfielder from a free kick, and the Brazilian did the rest.

The hosts have the strongest home record in all of Le Championnat and doubled their advantage early in the second half when a period of intense pressure ended with Modibo Maiga rattling by Nicolas Penneteau after being released by Ideye Brown.

VA hadn’t really been in the game since a third minute effort from Jose Saez was ruled out for offside, but they came back into the game when Carlos Sanchez pounced on a poor clearance to drive his side back into the game.

Toulouse 1–0 Caen

Caen’s woeful run of form continued in Toulouse, where a Federico Santander goal in second half minutes the out-of-form Normandy club.

The first half was rather evenly contested but le Tefece started the second period much the better of the two teams and moved ahead through the young Paraguayan striker on 64 minutes. Some great enterprise from Adrian Gunino was the catalyst for his fellow South American’s goal.

Moussa Sissoko had previously had a header clawed away by Alexis Thebault, while Caen’s best chance arrived through Romain Hamouma, who smacked an effort against Mathieu Valverde when clean through on goal.

Lille 6-3 Lorient

Lille’s encounter with Lorient was delayed for nearly 24 hours due to snow in the north of France on Saturday night, but it was a match worth waiting from the home side’s point of view.

The action started with Kevin Gameiro striking from a Francis Coquelin release after seven minutes to put the visitors ahead, but Lille were quickly level through Moussa Sow, who was assisted by the excellent Yohan Cabaye.

Sow slid in to strike LOSC’s second as Fabien Audard allowed a rebound to squirt out in front of goal, but FCL were level on the stroke of half-time when Gameiro finished superbly at the back post.

Until the hour mark the two sides continued to go toe-to-toe. Sow completed his hat-trick with a header just after the break but Lynel Kitambala quickly leveled. Gervinho struck the crucial go-ahead goal just two minutes later, completing a flowing move.

In the last 10 minutes the hosts really exerted themselves, scoring again through Gervinho, who created a late goal for Pierre-Alain Frau. Between these strikes, visiting goalkeeper Audard had been dismissed.

Nice 1-0 Olympique de Marseille

Sunday’s derby at the Stade du Ray was a hit and run affair as Nice scored with their only shot on target deep in injury time to defeat Marseille.

If les Aiglons restricted their guests in the first half impressively, OM were much the better side after the break and dominated proceedings almost entirely. David Ospina in the home goal was never seriously exerted as Brandao struggled at the head of the Marseille attack in the absence of Andre-Pierre Gignac.

With time running out Nice launched a swift counterattack that concluded with Chaouki Ben Saada getting to the byline and cutting a pass back to Emerse Fae, who stuck home from close range to leave the guests looking thoroughly disgruntled.

Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Stade Brestois

A fine week for PSG concluded with an emphatic victory over a Brest side known for their steady defense.

Les Parisiens made a quick start to the game and typically it was Nene who smashed them ahead with a volley after only five minutes.

Chances were missed for the home team to move further into the lead but these would be squandered. Brest punished the hosts’ profligacy by striking early in the second half through Nolan Roux, who finished emphatically after being ignored by the home defense.

But PSG bounced back from this blow impressively and quickly regained the upper hand when Mathieu Bodmer flung himself at a Ludovic Giuly cross to strike. Giuly capped a fine personal performance by scoring the hosts’ third with 15 minutes remaining, driving low into the net.

Saint-Etienne 2-2 Girondins de Bordeaux

Saint-Etienne extended their winless streak to nine games, though they came within seconds of defeating Bordeaux at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Les Girondins didn’t make a quick start to the match but moved into the lead when Fahid Ben Kalfallah opened the scoring from a Wendel cross.

Sainte struggled to gain a foothold in the game but were boosted by the half-time interval, which allowed the hosts to collect their thoughts and rally so that Albin Ebondo drove home an angled shot from inside the box. Only moments later American defender Carlos Bocanegra headed a set-piece into the net.

Bordeaux looked to be coming up well short as the hosts missed a series of tremendous chances, though with only a couple of minutes remaining Fernando pounced to glance a header into the net and salvage the guests a somewhat undeserved point.

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