For the second week running former Leeds United forward Max Gradel has come off the bench to score for Saint-Etienne. Who’s he trying to impress?
We had nine goals and three red cards over three games to finish off Journée 32 in Ligue 1 this week. Once again it was former Leeds United man, Max Gradel, saving Saint-Etienne at the death.
That’s two in two for the Ivorian striker, maybe a certain Italian chairman may have been tuned into BT Sport this weekend.
Five out of the top six won, leaving things pretty much as you were at the top, but Saint-Etienne’s draw means that slip five points behind Lille in third spot. It could have been a lot worse had they not equalised in injury time.
Nice took a shock lead at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard on Sunday lunchtime. The former Les Verts loanee, Mathieu Bodmer, glanced in a header after the home side had dominated for 57 minutes.
Sainte came back, piled on the pressure and levelled after Didier Digard was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. It was harsh on the midfield; he threw himself at the ball and was only two feet from the shot. Super-sub Gradel stepped up and tucked away the penalty. Saint-Etienne have scored in every home league game this season, they were seconds away from ending the run.
Lyon moved within four points of their bitter rivals with an entertaining 2-1 win in northern France. The loss makes Valenciennes’ chances of staying up very unlikely as they are six points from safety. Luck doesn’t seem to be on their side as Sunday showed.
They went behind after a defensive slip by Saliou Ciss left Bafetimbi Gomis unmarked in the box, and the former Newcastle United target kept his composure and scored his 100th goal in Ligue 1.
In the second half the home side hit back, Ghanaian striker, Majeed Waris cut inside before his near post shot met the upright before squeezing in the corner. It is his ninth league goal after joining on loan from Spartak Moscow, but his day would not end on a high.
Jordan Ferri gave Lyon the lead again within two minutes, a stunning strike from outside the area, he won’t score many better. Valenciennes tried to hit back and they won a penalty in injury time. This time Waris couldn’t be the hero as Anthony Lopes saved the well hit spot-kick, all but condemning Valenciennes fate this season.
In the late game there was a less than convincing performance from AS Monaco. They moved back to 13 points behind PSG with a 3-1 win over Nantes, but at 1-0 they looked vulnerable, but also had enough in the tank to see over the 15th placed side. It took two goals from Colombian star James Rodriguez to guide Claudio Ranieri’s side to victory, with Italian Andrea Raggi heading in the second goal.
Monaco are six points ahead of Lille in third, Lille five points ahead of Saint-Etienne as we enter the latter stages of the league campaign. Next week’s big game is on Sunday night as Lyon welcome PSG to the Stade Gerland.