ROUND-UP: Africans in Ligue 1- Week 2
Four Africans hit the target and one was sent off in an action-packed second week of the French domestic competition.
Africa Football Shop’s French football correspondent, Jamie Barlow, scrutinises how the league’s African contingent fared in the latest round of fixtures.
The shock result of the weekend was undoubtedly Reims’ surprise defeat of Marseille. Marseille- still without a coach following the resignation of Marcelo Bielsa the previous week- went behind on the 14th minute as Mali international, Hamari Traore, volleyed in a right footed effort from the right edge of the box after les Phocéens failed to clear their lines from a corner. The champagne moment of the tie was reserved for the 23-year-old right back but there was nothing to celebrate for Marseille who slumped to their second consecutive defeat. Interim coach Franck Passi could not restore order to the Marseille rank and the scoreline stayed the same for the rest of the game- a disappointing result for the French side who finished fourth last season and now sit rooted at the foot of the table, second bottom to Montpellier on goal difference.
A superb performance from Lille’s Nigerian goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, held Monaco to a goalless draw at the Stade Louis II on Friday evening. The 32-year-old was in fine form to thwart Nabil Dirar from close range on the 12th minute and the stopper did well to parry a Joao Moutinho free kick to safety on the stroke of half time. Enyeama continued from where he left off after the interval and produced his best save to deny a Ricardo Carvalho header late in the second half. The Nigeria international instinctively sprang to his right to palm away the effort which looked to have him beaten all ends up proving just why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the division.
Two Africans helped their clubs to a share of the spoils in Lorient’s 1-1 draw against Bastia on Sunday. Togo international striker, Floyd Ayite, scored his second goal of the campaign to break the deadlock for the away side on the fourth minute as the striker latched onto a flick-on from Gael Danic to round ‘keeper Benjamin Lecomte and finish high into the roof of the net. But Benjamin Moukandjo rescued a point for Lorient in stoppage time after converting from the spot. A penalty had been awarded after Sebastien Squillaci brought down Didier Bouanga in the area and the Cameroonian Moukandjo duly stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.
St Etienne and Bordeaux were looking for their first wins of the season as the sides met at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Romain Hamouma hit a slick first time effort into the bottom corner from the left side of the box to beat Jérôme Prior and open the scoring for the hosts. But it was Bordeaux’s Senegal international, Henri Saivet, who stepped up to the plate to equalise as the winger curled a free kick from outside of the box into the centre of the net. St Etienne goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier will claim that his vision was impeded by his wall as the stopper remained flat footed as he watched Saivet’s tame set piece drift between the sticks. It was odd as even then once again for the two sides.
A goal fest at Troyes saw Congo international defender, Chris Mavinga, head to the dressing room in the first half after receiving his second yellow card. Nice were winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Alassane Plea after Ben Arfa had cancelled out Corentin Jean’s opener for Troyes, before the Congolese picked up his second bookable offence on the 31st minute. The ten men of Troyes did enough to claw their way back into the game after Fabien Camus and Thiago Xavier bagged to level the scoreline after Maxime Le Marchand hit a third for Nice shortly before half time.