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League Focus: Relegation Battle Warms Up French Winter

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League Focus: Relegation Battle Warms Up French Winter   One of the most curious, and most-quoted, statistics of the first half of the Ligue 1 season was a by-product of Paris Saint-Germain’s growing dominance of French football. Going into Christmas, second-placed Monaco were closer to the bottom three (13 points away) than they were to Lau...

Team Focus: Stylish Nice Once Again Shine on the Road

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Team Focus: Stylish Nice Once Again Shine on the Road   They may be separated by a 250km ferry ride, but when Nice and Bastia meet, it’s a derby. That is the feeling on both the Côte d’Azur and the northeastern coast of Corsica and accordingly, sparks tend to fly when the pair come together.     After some unsavoury in...

Team Focus: Printant Pulls Bastia Close Towards the Great Escape

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Team Focus: Printant Pulls Bastia Close Towards the Great Escape All things come to those who wait, they say, and Ghislain Printant has been more patient than most. Having spent 25 years as a goalkeeping coach and then working in youth academies, he got his shot at the top job at Bastia in November, after Claude Makélélé was fired. It has no...

League Focus: Relegation Battle Tightens on Ligue 1’s Binary Sunday

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League Focus: Relegation Battle Tightens on Ligue 1’s Binary Sunday 1-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0, 0-1, 0-0. The Sunday afternoon multiplex in Ligue 1 might have looked unappetising viewing on paper – with the final five being played simultaneously, after the Saturday schedule was cleared for the Coupe de la Ligue final – but there was no shortage of tension.At th...

Match Focus: Bielsa’s Marseille Caught Out by Makélélé’s Bright Bastia

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Match Focus: Bielsa’s Marseille Caught Out by Makélélé’s Bright Bastia As Marseille’s tracksuited players enjoyed the traditional pre-match pitch walk on the turf at the Furiani, they looked like they were without a care in the world; enjoying the warmth of the Corsican summer, and the calm before the storm. Then, they were suddenly snapped out of their comfort,...

League Focus: Three Pivotal Matches in Ligue 1’s Battle at the Bottom

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League Focus: Three Pivotal Matches in Ligue 1’s Battle at the Bottom   Montpellier v Monaco   This should read as a meeting of some promise, with the 2012 champions taking on stylish, nouveau riche visitors. In fact, we have two teams with wildly divergent aims. Montpellier have lost the fewest matches in the bottom nine (6) but are hovering above the drop...

Team Focus: Bastia, Ligue 1’s Low-Key Entertainers, Rebuild in Style

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Team Focus: Bastia, Ligue 1’s Low-Key Entertainers, Rebuild in Style For a Friday night at the Furiani, there was everything that one would expect and hope for; driving rain, noise and goals. There was the obligatory red card too – Bastia received seven last season and have recorded two already in the new campaign – though it was Larry Azouni of visitors...

Match Focus: The Corsican Derby - Ajaccio vs Bastia

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Match Focus: The Corsican Derby - Ajaccio vs Bastia   When Bastia won promotion back to Ligue 1 one of the most exciting prospects for this season was the return of the Corsican derby. It has been seven years since the island derby featured in the top division, and back then Mamadou Seck’s first half header was enough for Ajaccio to win t...

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