OM offered Troyes, Lens joined by Strasbourg, Nice sticking to a set in Montpellier
While the first five matches of day 18 of Ligue 1 take place at 7pm, the French Championship presents the remaining five games at 9pm. Opportunities include seeing the first three teams in action, Paris Saint-Germain, RC Lens and Olympique de Marseille in action. If the Ile-de-France residents deliver a crucial win against Angers (2-0), RC Lens have an unclear move against the Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace orphan of recently sacked ex-coach Julien Stéphan. And the sour dynamic was confirmed for the Alsatians who quickly broke Alexis Claude-Maurice’s early goal well served by Facundo Medina (1-0, 11). While we thought we saw the Alsatians get affected, they reacted at home in La Meineau. In quick succession, Sanjin Prcic with a long shot (1-1, 13′) and Kevin Gameiro with opportunism (2-1, 16′) turned things around. Lens didn’t expect it and gave encouragement. Florian Sotoca sparked Banderilla (23) then Jean Onana made a very close pass (32). Finally, Loïs Openda was responsible for the equalizer (2-2, 33). A fun, rhythmic first period. More closed, the second half saw Strasbourg get the better of Lensoise’s side who had the ball but few chances. Accelerating late on, Artésiens distinguished themselves with a thunderous strike from Seko Fofana (69), but Strasbourg responded with a mischievous Kevin Gameiro (71). Although the game ended in a tense, both teams parted ways with a 2-2 draw. Lens remains second, but sees OM return. Nineteenth, Strasbourg is three points away from the first non-relegation.
Third in the championship, Olympique de Marseille moved to the lawns of Troyes. The match which started under the best auspices for the Phocaeans. Jordan Veretout’s corner which was flicked on at the near post by Mattéo Guendouzi, Chancellor Mbemba pops up at the far post to find fault (1-0, 11′). Convincing start to Igor Tudor’s side who doubled the chances through Sead Kolasinac (17), Cengiz Ünder (19) or by Rominigue Kouamé close to goal against his side (23). In good shape, but not safe, the Olympians are feared successively through Mama Baldé (30) and Yoann Salmier (31). Valentin Rongier answered with a heavy strike, but fell to Mateusz Lis (35). Returning from the locker room, Marseille took cover from a cross from Cengiz Ünder which Jordan Veretout took over (2-0, 46). With confidence, Marseille opened fire and Sead Kolasinac crossed one too many shots that could have ended the tension (57). A similar situation occurred a few minutes later for Cengiz Ünder (65). Without a solution, Troyes tried in vain to react. Olympique de Marseille are consolidating their third place (5 points ahead of Rennes who are in 4th) and are two points behind Lens. Troyes is thirteenth.
Lorient and Monaco turned their backs, Nice humiliated Montpellier
In an ambush on the table, Monaco (5th) challenges Lorient (7th) in a good duel at the top of the table. A match in which Asemis struck first with a shot from Mohamed Camara on the crossbar (15th). Lorient responded in stride and Terem Moffi fell on a solid Alexander Nübel on the support (17). An even start to the game despite possession going in favor of Monaco. Philippe Clement’s side even received a penalty for Vito Mannone’s foul on Breel Embolo (25), but Vanderson’s offside early in the action (28) let Hakes breathe a sigh of relief. Challenging at the break, both teams got back to good pace and Breel Embolo finally found fault thanks to a low run in the Breton area (1-0, 61st). Just when we thought that the Principality club had done the hardest part, Lorient called off this match. Dango Ouattara equalized early (1-1, 76th). Burkinabé then fired in Terem Moffi seconds later to give Lorient the lead (2-1, 77th). At the last moment, Wissam Ben Yedder turned into a lifesaver for his family (2-2, 90 +3). Monaco (5th) stays ahead of its nightly opponents (6th)
For his first on a good bench, Didier Digard replaced Lucien Favre against Montpellier. Nicolas Pépé quickly tested Jonas Omlin (4th) and announced his color. Minutes later, we found two men following a good job by Khéphren Thuram and this time Ivory Coast won and scored (1-0, 15). Nice showed an interesting face which rarely happened this season. Gaëtan Laborde forced Jonas Omlin to deploy a horizontal attack (28th) and Héraultais broke through for the second time through Khéphren Thuram (2-0, 35th). When they returned from the locker room, Nice used the same material and Nicolas Pépé scored twice with a shot that found the right side of the net (3-0, 56). A dream first for coach Didier Digard which saw his side score again thanks to the introduction of Billal Brahimi (4-0, 75). Swept away, Montpellier offered a narrow kick through Téji Savanier’s free kick which lodged in the right corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal (4-1, 80). Two goals from Ross Barkley capped a great night for the Aiglons (5-1, 82, 6-1, 85). Game, set and match, Nice humiliated Montpellier and found itself in tenth place. Héraultais was fifteenth.
FC Lorient 2-2 AS Monaco: Dango Ouattara (76) and Terem Moffi (77) for Lorient; Breel Embolo (61) and Wissam Ben Yedder (90 +3) for Monaco
Very nice 6-1 Montpellier HSC: Nicolas Pépé (15 and 56), Khéphren Thuram (35), Billal Brahimi (75) and Ross Barkley (82 and 86) for Nice; Teji Savanier (80th) for Montpellier
RC Strasbourg Alsace 2-2 RC Lens: Sanjin Prcic (13) and Kevin Gameiro (16) for Strasbourg; Alexis Claude-Maurice (11th) and Loïs Openda (33rd) for Lens
ES Troyes AC 0-2 Marseille Olympics : Chancel Mbemba (11th) and Jordan Veretout (46th) for OM
Paris Saint Germain 2-0 SCO Angers: Hugo Ekitike (5) and Lionel Messi (74) for PSG