MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, November 24, 2020
All three Americans in France saw some playing time but it was Nicholas Gioacchini who was the hero as he earned his team a penalty that sealed the win in weekend French action.
Paris FC 0-3 Auxerre
Patrick Koffi finally saw some minutes for his Parisian side but it was in a losing cause as the first-place team from the capital city suffered a rare defeat, this one against third place Auxerre.
With the American starting the game on the bench, the visitors took a very early lead when Mickael Le Bihan. The Frenchman coolly found the back of the net when teammate Mathias Autret slid the ball across the top of the box to him and his right-footed shot from 18 yards out was tucked just inside the far post. The counter-attack came off a poor pass at the other end that Autret intercepted.
Obviously, Paris still hadn't gotten their heads into the game when four minutes later Vincent Demarconnay was again picking the ball out of the back of his net. This time it was Remy Dugimont beating the keeper and it was again a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that again ended up just inside the left side post.
Things settled down somewhat after that, at least for about half an hour anyway. In the 38th minute, Le Bihan struck again. His keeper, Donovan Leon, booted the ball half the length of the field and when the Paris defense couldn't handle it, the striker did, raced down the rest of the field and pulled the trigger from about 15 yards out, beating Demarconnay with a shot to his left.
The second half of the game produced no further strikes however Koffi did come onto the field right after the intermission but could do nothing to help dig his team out of the hole that they found themselves in. Next up will be a trip to take on Grenoble Foot over the weekend.
Le Havre 1-2 Caen
After his heroic performance for the USA against Panama, Nicholas Gioacchini was fit and rested enough to get the nod to start on the seaside town of Le Havre, a roughly 60 miles trip from Caen. The visitors went down in the first half but managed to find a pair of goals in the second to secure all three points.
Caen saw their good work undone just before the half time whistle when Himad Abdelli netted in the 45th minute, leaving it all to do for the visitors in the second half.
Thirty-one minutes in and the Vikings finally got the goal they were searching for when Yoël Armougom picked out Yoann Court for the Frenchman to score his first goal of the season. The victory was then sealed when Gioacchini was unceremoniously brought down in the box by Pierre Gibaud. His Moroccan teammate put the ball on the spot and hit the winner with just five minutes left on the clock.
The victory puts Caen into the second spot, just five points behind Paris. They'll try to close the gap, even more, when they welcome 16th place Châteauroux over the weekend.
Tim Weah got to play the last four minutes as Lille thrashed Lorient by a 4-0 scoreline. Lille holds onto second place, just two points behind PSG in the race for the French title. Next up for the Dogues is a home Europa League game against Milan before they travel to take on St Etienne over the weekend.