giovedì 13 novembre 2014

French Pro A League 2nd round: Three leaders of an unreadable championship

The third round of the championship, and the third incomplete round. Inevitably, surprises result, like the presence of Douai leading the standings tied with Marseille and Montpellier.
Douai, who received Lille in the Northern derby played in Belgium, had a count to solve with its opponent of the day. In fact last season, Lille had beaten Douai with a last goal permitted by a huge refereeing mistake. Lille started the match well by opening the scoring in less than a minute with the Dutch international Robin Lindhout, and was leading the race leaving only very rarely the initiative to Douai. However, led by an excellent Aurélien Clay (4 goals), Douai replied but could not fill a gap which grew up to 3 goals (7-10) five minutes from the end. Like last season, it was a question of refereing, as often in a "hot" game, let alone a derby. 
The last period was a litany of fouls: 2 yellow cards, 14 exclusions (4 with substitution)! It began with Charles Valter (3 exclusions and one more with substitution in less than a minute), imitated by his teammate Charles Canonne (excluded for insults). Lille was ready to call for its second win. But Douai, certainly galvanised by the adversity, was able to find the resources to rebel and could count on an extraordinary Louis Gacquerre, who scored three goals in three minutes to give the victory to his club (11-10). Lille feels robbed by arbitration, Douai think having earned because of its team spirit and mental strength. The truth is probably somewhere between these two positions. One thing is certain though: at this level, it is almost professionnal mistake to squander victory conceding four goals in five minutes. Lille failed to keep the head cool enough to win.

A week after meeting for the Euro Cup, Nice and Sete met again for their national championship. Easy winner in the European cup (11-4), Nice reiterate along well. After a balanced first period (4-3), Nice gave a major boost in the second half (5-0), which left Sete without any reaction. The fate of the match was then sealed, and Sète never showed a real fighting spirit, yet one of their main quality. Nice won even more easily than last week (16-5).

After a crushing defeat against Marseille (4-22) a forthignt ago, Noisy did better than resist to Montpellier, even leading at mid-match (4-3). Then a simple acceleration of Montpellier in the third period (0-5) was enough so that the team of the coach Fabien Vasseur gained a logical victory (5-9). Nevertheless, the impression left by the champion is that of a team far from irresistible. Facing a team like Marseille, who has significantly increased its strength, will require Montpellier to produce a another kind of game to retain its title.

French Pro A League
2nd round

Saturday 8 November:

Douai – Lille 11 – 10 (1-2, 3-4, 3-2, 4-2)
Noisy – Montpellier 5 – 9 (2-2, 2-1, 0-5, 1-1)
Nice – Sète 16 – 5 (4-3, 5-0, 1-2, 6-0)

Standings after 3 rounds:

1- Marseille – 6 pts (+ 26)
2- Montpellier – 6 pts (+ 12)
3 – Douai (*) – 6 pt (+ 7)
4- Nice – 3 pt (+ 9)
5- Lille – 3 pts (0)
6- Strasbourg  – 3 pts (0)
7 - Aix-en-Provence – 3 pts (- 6)
8- Sète (**) – 0 pt (- 11)
9- Saint Jean d’Angély – 0pt (- 15)
10- Noisy – 0 pt (- 22)

All teams with 2 matches played, except:
(*) : 3 matches played
(**) : only 1 match played

Top scorers:

1 – Ugo Crousillat (Marseille) - 11 goals
2 – Aurélien Clay (Douai) -  11 goals
3 – Robin Lindhout (Lille) - 9 goals

Next matches
Saturday 15 November:

Aix-en-Provence – Sète
Marseille – Saint-Jean d’Angély
Nice- Noisy
Montpellier -Strasbourg

Thanks to Eric Dupont.

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