RECAP: MIDWEEK FRENCH ACTION
Carlos Bocanegra head into the holidays on a positive note after stealing a point versus Lille while Charlie Davies did not suit up for Sochaux in the final slate of Ligue 1 action in 2010.
Lille 1 - 1 Saint Etienne
A dubious penalty call allowed Carlos Bocanegra and Saint Etienne to sneak out of Stade Lille-Metropole with a point versus first place Lille.
Bocanegra started in defense for the guests and put in a full day's work prior to the holiday break in Ligue 1.
Lille eventually found their rhythm in the first half and became the aggressor putting Les Verts on their heels for good stretches of the match.
It was evident that Bocanegra and the Saint Etienne defense would have their work cut out for them in trying to contain Lille's deadly trio of Moussa Sow, Gervinho and impressive young Belgian Eden Hazard.
The US national team captain and his mates fended off the league leaders until the 72nd minute when Sow struck with a blast from the right side of the area after gathering in a pass from Gervinho.
However the good cheer felt by the home fans quickly turned to anger and derision after the referee awarded a controversial penalty to Saint Etienne just three minutes after Sow's strike.
Saint Etienne's Blaise Matuidi made a run into the opposing area and came into contact with Lille defender Adil Rami. Matuidi fell to the ground and the referee was quick to point to the spot.
Replays showed that any contact that could have come from Rami was minimal, however by then the damage had been done and Bakary Sako easily converted to draw the guests level.
From there, Bocanegra and the Saint Etienne defense held on despite several late Lille opportunities.
Following a brief respite, Saint Etienne will return to action on January 8th when the host Clermont in the ninth round of the Coupe de France.
Charlie Davies was not named to the 18 man gameday roster for Sochaux who fell 2-1 on the road at Monaco.
Quentin Westberg watched from the bench as the reserve goalkeeper for Evian who were stung by visiting Reims 1-2.