ROUND-UP: Africans in Ligue 1 – Week 12
Ghana international Abdul Majeed Waris made Ligue 1 headlines in week 12 with a horror-tackle in a fiery encounter between Guingamp and Lorient in a game which saw two Africans sent off.
Africa Football Shop’s Ligue 1 correspondent, Jamie Barlow, reports all the action; including how Gazelec Ajaccio’s hopes of surviving their first year in the French top flight were boosted by a brace from Mohamed Larbi.
Sylvain Ripoll’s Lorient – having lost two in their last nine on the road – made the short trip north to take on in-form Guingamp at the Stade Municipal de Roudourou. The two sides shared the spoils in a 2-2 thriller which was ignited by an acrobatic effort from Jimmy Briand, who flashed a scissor-kick past the helpless Benjamin Lecomte. The test became tougher shortly afterwards for Lorient when Ghanaian forward Abdul Majeed Waris saw red for a horrific lunge just before the interval. Waris – who was frustrated after the referee failed to punish a Guingamp player for a foul on the Ghana international – recklessly hacked down Briand with a Kung Fu-style challenge which was both high and dangerous. Waris inevitably received a straight red before venting his frustration by kicking over a drinks bottle on the sideline. Senegal international, Younousse Sankhare, picked up his second yellow card in the aftermath of the melee by shoving a Lorient player in the confrontations which followed. Guingamp – who had not lost at home since their defeat to Lyon in week two – responded on 64 minutes when Cameroonian forward Benjamin Moukandjo emphatically converted from the penalty spot. The striker gave goalkeeper Jonas Lossl no chance as he fired his effort into the top corner. The home side thought they’d won the tie seven minutes from the end when Yannis Sailbur’s header from 12 yards deflected home. Moukandjo popped up late in the dying embers of the game to seal the draw for his side. The striker nodded in from short range at the back stick three minutes into stoppage time to prevent his side from losing.
Mohamed Larbi helped Gazelec Ajaccio to win their second consecutive game in Ligue 1 with a 2-0 defeat of Bordeaux. The Tunisian scored his second of the season just before the break, when a lacklustre Bordeaux clearance fell to him 20 yards out and he pinged a first-time effort into the corner. The hosts were then reduced to ten men on 64 minutes when skipper Roderic Fillippi was given his marching orders after receiving his second yellow, before star man Larbi bagged his second four minutes later to secure the victory. Smart work down the right from Jacques Zoua set up Larbi whose first touch brought him inside the area and his second dispatched a low, clinical drive off the outside of his right boot which was destined for the bottom corner. Larbi showed great audacity with his effort to cap his scintillating performance.
Bastia ended their dreadful run of form with a 1-0 win against Caen at the Stade Armand-Cesari. The Corsicans – who had previously lost eight of their last nine matches and not scored since September – broke their hoodoo run thanks to a set-piece from Guinea international, Sadio Diallo. Diallo’s in-swinging free kick evaded everyone in the area, including goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre, who watched the ball curl into the back of the net. Jean-Louis Leca, at the other end, made a string of fines saves to keep out the away side.
Prince Oniangué put through his own net as St Etienne ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Reims at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. The away side came into the tie on the back of four consecutive defeats and were on course for a fifth when Robert Beric slid to convert Nolan Roux’s teasing cross just after the hour mark. Oniangué was the unlucky recipient of Valentin Eysseric’s free-kick, Reims’ number eight misdirected his header past goalkeeper Johnny Placide on the 68th minute. Eysseric turned from provider to scorer, wrapping up the victory with a cool dink over Placide to complete a fine move after Roux had put him clean through on goal.
In other news, DR Congo international, Chris Mavinga, was the downfall in Troyes’ 1-0 defeat to Lyon. The defender conceded a penalty for hauling down Alexandre Lacazette inside the area and referee Stephane Jochem duly pointed to the spot. Claudio Beauvue’s resulting effort proved enough to secure the three points that saw Les Gones move up to second in the Ligue 1 table.
Ivorian defender Serge Aurier featured in PSG’s 1-0 victory at Rennes on Friday evening in a game of limited chances. Les Parisiens remain unbeaten in Ligue 1 this season and extended their lead at the top of the table to ten points ahead of second placed Lyon, who sit on 22. Angel Di Maria volleyed home the champions’ winner on 75 minutes after being played in by a superb long-range ball from Lucas Moura. Pedro Henrique nearly equalised for the hosts late on as PSG held on for a clean sheet.