Tim Weah continued his journey back to full fitness as he puts in a shift for Lille, while Palmer-Brown goes the distance in Ligue 1 action.

Brest 2 – 0 Lille

OSC Lille threw away any chance of collecting some road points as they contributed to Brest’s cause with a very early own goal, followed by a very late penalty that Steve Mounie converted.  Time Weah, back from injury, was given the nod to start the game but only lasted until the 67th minute when he was replaced by Belgian Amadou Onana.

Although they dominated the game, the Dogues could not find the back of the net in Brittany.  The visitors had 10 corner kicks and six of their 15 shots on goal but just could not breach the Brest defense.

A third minute cross from the right wing unsettled the Lille defense, so much so that right back Tiago Djalo directed it into the back of his own net after just three minutes.

Lille’s best chance of the half came when Weah picked out Jonathan David but the Canadian’s shot was deflected out of harm’s way by Brest’s keeper, Marco Bizot.  Burak Yilmaz really should have done better with his shot from inside the 18 yard box but made it easy for Marco Bizot to make the save.  To be fair to the Dutch keeper, he also made a brilliant save against Jonathan David.

New signing Hatem Ben Arfa came on in the second half and was close to snatching his first Lille goal, having just signed from Bordeaux, but Bizot was having the game of his life and turned this one away too.

With Lille’s continuing threats, it was down the other end where Mehmet Celik plowed into Franck Honorat to set up the penalty.  Mounie tucked it into the left inside netting to beat the diving Ivo Grbic.

The loss leaves Lille in 10th place although only a pair of points out of a European spot.  They’ll have to do a lot better however when they host league leaders PSG who are up next.

Angers 2 – 1 Troyes

A change of head coach has obviously benefitted Erik Palmer-Brown who was again in the ESTAC starting line-up, but he could do little to help his side pick up any points as they fell on the road to Angers.  The American put in a full 90 minute shift in a game that the visitors lead but threw away after surrendering a pair of penalties.

ESTAC got off to a flying start as they attacked and found themselves three on three with the SCO defense; Abdu Conte squared the ball for Gerson Rodrigues, who shot from 10 yards out but saw Danjiel Petrovic make a flying save as he parried the ball away.  Unfortunately for the Montenegrin keeper, he only knocked it as far as Brandon Domingues, who slotted it into the back of the net. 

Things started to go wrong however ten minutes later with some careless defending.  Yoann Salmier stuck closely to Billal Brahimi but when he entered the box, the French defender got too close and bowled the front man over.  Thomas Mangani took the gift and drilled it right down the middle into the underside of the netting as Gauthier Gallon dove to his right.  The equalizer came in the 26th minute.

As Yogi Berra would say, it was déjà vu all over again as almost the same foul was committed on the other side of the box.  Mattias Lage was wrestled to the ground by a very silly Giulian Biancone and once again it was the 34-year-old midfielder who placed the ball on the spot.  He did exactly the same thing with the ball, placing it down the middle and into the underside of the netting.  Gallon decided to dive to the right again as well.

The half ended at 2-1 and after the intermission, both teams had a couple of chances but nothing gave and it ended with the same score, which means that Troyes is dangling very close to the relegation places.  They are just three points from relegation and only one where they would have to go into a relegation play-off to fight for their Ligue 1 survival. 

Next up 16th place ESTAC will host 18th place Metz and it will be a must-win game for both sides if they hope to continue life in the big leagues.

Notes

Nicholas Gioacchini made an appearance off the bench in the 71st minute, after Montpellier had already scored thrice.  Monaco did pick up a late consolation goal but in the end La Paillade came away with the 3-1 victory and the vital three points that saw them leapfrog their opponents from the French Riviera.  Next up will be a trip down the coast to take on Marseille.

Olympique Marseille travelled all the way to the frozen north of France and made the trip worthwhile as they came away 2-0 winners over Lens.  Konrad de la Fuente is sidelined, so didn’t travel with the team.  As stated above, Marseille plays Montpellier next.

By Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on Amazon.com, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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