European Lower League Week – The Waterlogged Edition
Monaco raced three points clear at the top of Ligue 2 after beating Angers in a second versus first clash at the Stade Jean Bouin. A crowd of over 14000 turned up hoping to see Angers go top but it wasn’t to be as Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco & Ibrahim Toure, with his 10th goal of the season, shot the visitors (down to 10 men at the time) into a 2-0 lead. Charles Diers pulled one back for Angers who were themselves reduced to 10 men late on & Monaco held on.
After years in the doldrums, Nantes now look capable of mounting a promotion push & this was highlighted with Monday night’s 2-0 win over Dijon which put Les Canaries into second place. Filip Djordjevic grabbed one of the goals taking his season’s tally to double figures where he joins Monaco’s Toure. Istres & Caen both slip a place to fourth & fifth respectively after weekend defeats. Istres were beaten at improving Clermont who are now five without a loss & Caen lost their third home game on the trot as they went down 2-1 to Guingamp.
Sedan remain bottom but had a morale boosting win beating Arles 4-2 in front of a season’s low crowd of 4882. Chateauroux are now five unbeaten after a 3-1 win over Gazelec Ajaccio, which plunges the Corsicans to second bottom & Laval drop into the relegation zone after squandering a 2-0 lead with just a minute left on the clock to draw 2-2 with local rivals Tours.
The Eintracht Braunschweig bandwagon shows no signs of slowing down as they won their eighth game of the season & remain unbeaten with a 2-0 success at Dynamo Dresden, who were reduced to nine men in a crazy two minute spell early in the second half. Relegated duo Hertha Berlin & Kaiserslautern lead the chasing pack & both enjoyed victories on Friday. Hertha went to struggling Bochum & won 2-0 whilst Kaiserslautern beat Sandhausen 3-1, Tunisian defender Enis Hajri coming off the bench to make his debut and scoring the pick of the bunch.
Cottbus looked to be returning to winning ways after two losses when Boubacar Sanogo hit his sixth goal of the season, but Martin Dausch gave Aalen a share of the spoils late on. 1860 Munich also lost ground on the leading pack as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Aue who move out of the relegation play off place & into 14th.
After an improvement in results, Duisburg failed to climb off the foot of the table as they were beaten 2-0 at home to Ingolstadt while St.Pauli stay second bottom despite a much improved performance in Michael Frontzeck’s first game in charge. St Pauli took the lead following a sweeping move when on loan striker Daniel Ginczek headed home early in the second half. Paderborn brought on ex-St.Pauli forward Deniz Naki & as is usually the casem it was Naki who denied Frontzeck a winning start with the home side’s leveller.
Paderborn’s long serving keeper Lukas Kruse kept St Pauli at bay with a string of fine saves & the game ended 1-1. Bochum drop into the relegation play-off zone following Aue’s point at 1860 Munich. The game of the weekend was at the JahnStadion where Jahn Regensburg welcomed FC Koln with both teams in good form, the home side were leading 2-0 with three minutes left on the clock when Koln pulled a goal back & sensed an unlikely point, which they secured in injury time through Domonic Maroh. Not content with a point, Koln went for the jugular & broke Jahn hearts when Sascha Bigalke fired in an unstoppable shot from 25 yards amid chaotic scenes.
MVV Maastricht have moved five points clear at the top of the Eerste Divisie after coming from behind to beat bottom side Almere City 2-1. Cambuur were second but a 2-1 defeat at lowly Den Bosch drops them to fourth as they are replaced in second spot by Sparta Rotterdam, who beat fellow high flyers Volendam on Monday night. Sparta have been beaten just once in their opening nine fixtures & Rotterdam’s second biggest club look destined for another season challenging for promotion back to the Eredivisie. After winning their opening five games, Helmond Sport have now gone four without a win but they showed plenty of spirit in coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Go Ahead Eagles thanks to two goals in the last 17 minutes of the game.
Fortuna Sittard are quietly moving up the table. The Limberg based side came close with a late run last season & almost reached the play-offs. They have won their last three games to go fifth, the latest a 3-0 away success at FC Oss who have slipped to second bottom following their fourth defeat on the trot.
Sassuolo have finally been beaten but they remain four points clear at the top of Serie B. Cittadella became the first team to inflict the defeat with Samuel Di Carmine’s fourth goal of the season for the mid-table side. Hellas Verona moved into second after climbing above Livorno following a fine 2-0 away win in a game that sparked controversy with small sections of fans from both sides involving in sick chanting. Daniele Cacia opened the scoring early for Hellas with his eighth goal in the last seven games & Livorno’s second home defeat in succession was confirmed when Raphael Martinho fired home in the last minute.
Padova won their fifth game out of six to go fourth following a 2-1 success at Pro Vercelli in front of a season’s best crowd of 2522. Spezia & Ternana hold the last two play off places although both dropped a place following 0-0 draws against Varese & Vicenza respectively.
Grosseto are four points adrift at the bottom but they will be pleased with a hard earned point at an in-form Modena outfit & Empoli finally got a win under their belts as they ruined Virtus Lanciano’s homecoming with a comfortable 3-0 win. Reggina won a point in Cesena following a 1-1 draw but it wasn’t enough to lift them out of the drop zone. Virtus Lanciano & Pro Vercelli, both promoted in the summer currently sit in the two relegation play off places.
Juve Stabia won their fourth game on the trot with a 4-2 success at Ascoli to go seventh, after losing their opening two games they have only been defeated once in the next eight games. Brescia sit on the fringes of the play-offs after ending Bari’s 100% home record with a 1-1 draw in the Monday night fixture.
Elche’s unbeaten start to the season is over but they remain five points clear after they were beaten by Javier Matilla’s 85th minute Panenka penalty at local rivals Murcia. Over 3000 Elche fans were in a crowd of 13882 (almost double Murcia’s average this season). It was a big win for Murcia who climb into the last play off spot. Almeria failed to close the gap on Elche as they were beaten at Sporting Gijon who won 2-1 in new Coach Jose Ramon Sandoval’s first game in charge.
Alcorcon move into third spot after a 1-0 away win at Numancia. They replace Villarreal who drop to fifth after a disappointing 2-0 loss at Recreativo Huelva. The Yellow Submarine also had Perez sent off, their third red card in four games. Girona looked to have picked up another win when they took an 84th minute lead at Mirandes through substitute Acuna, but the hosts pulled level two minutes later through Raul Garcia & Girona stay fourth.
Guadalajara stay bottom despite picking up another point in a 0-0 draw with fellow bottom dwellers Hercules who announced this week that Juan Carlos Mandia has been sacked & replaced by former Huesca Coach Quique Hernandez. Las Palmas followed up a midweek Copa Del Rey win over Racing Santander with their first league victory since the opening day of the season as they beat a Sabadell side who, after a good start, have now lost three on the trot. The win was not enough to lift Las Palmas out of the drop zone, they sit 19th one point behind Ponferradina.
One game which did not take place this weekend was the fixture between Huesca & Barcelona B which was called off due to a waterlogged pitch just before kick off & has been rescheduled for October 31st.