Division 1 Féminine - Matchday 16 Review: OM's superb season continues

The champions of the top division in France may be more clearer now but the story this season undoubtedly belongs to the team from Marseille.

Division 1 Féminine - Matchday 16 Review: OM's superb season continues
The league returned this weekend with a surprising result

The title race in the Division 1 Féminine seems to be drawing to a close now and a bar an epic collapse, should be decided before the season is over. That will not be the focus of this weekend though as Olympique de Marseille continue to confound critics by performing above their means and posing a difficult challenge for any who come up against them.

At the other end of the table, FC Metz are all but relegated from the top division after spending one season there and the question remains as to who will join them in the drop at the end of the season between fellow relegation battlers, FC Girondins de Bordeaux and ASPTT Albi.

Marseille rise to the challenge at every turn

An early kick-off in the south-west of France saw title challengers Paris Saint-Germain travel to Olympique de Marseille in a bid to stay with close to reigning champions, Olympique Lyonnais, in the race for the Division 1 Féminine title. The stage was set for a tough battle for the Parisiennes but they were determined to make this one count and stop the gap from widening any further than it already was. All they had to do was win away and hope that Lyon stumbled against their opponents on the day. Marseille had other ideas.

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Brétigny celebrates her winning goal in enthusiastic fashion | Source: om.net

After a first half that saw no goals scored due to Marseille's resilient defending, a mix up between Laura Georges and Sabrina Delannoy allowed Belgian midfielder Sara Yuceil​ to score her first goal of the season. Substitute Sandrine Brétigny made it two in the 76th minute with a brilliant free-kick and picked up a yellow card for her excessive celebration, which will probably not matter at all to her or her teammates after this result.

The changes PSG had made at half-time did nothing to swing the momentum of the game back to them and in the 88th minute, Cristiane went down with a potentially season-ending shoulder injury, leaving the away side down to ten players in the final few minutes of the game. The final whistle blew and the celebrations began in earnest as this season's newcomers show, once again, the rest of the world that they are here to stay in the top flight.

PSG are still in second but their title challenge has fallen away drastically over the last few weeks and they are now in danger of being overtaken by those behind them. Losing Cristiane will cause problems for them and with the departure of Amandine Henry, PSG will start to look over their shoulder instead of ahead as the league draws to a interesting finale. Marseille, on the other hand, are on a great run and will want to keep pushing themselves as far up the table as they possible can. Fourth is an excellent place to be for them and they will no doubt take that if that is where they end the season at.

OL look like they are heading to another league title

The current table toppers, Olympique Lyonnais, prepared for their upcoming Champions League tie with an emphatic 5-0 win away at ASPTT Albi. With PSG stumbling earlier in the day, the reigning Division 1 Féminine champions knew that they had the opportunity to extend their lead at the top against a struggling team and they did just that.

Eugénie Le Sommer was fouled in the box early on in the match and Saki Kumagai had no issues converting the resulting penalty. Le Sommer's involvement in Lyon's attack was not finished as in the 30th minute, the French international deflected a pass from Kumagai to the feet of Ada Hegerberg. The Norwegian slotted the ball home for her 14th goal of the season. Camille Abily then added the third goal in the 39th minute as she met the cross from Amel Majri in the box and nodded in from close range.

The second half belonged to Alex Morgan as the mid-season transfer has finally found her footing in Lyon. Dzsenifer Marozsán played Morgan in and the striker lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper to make it four in the 66th minute. Two minutes later and Morgan had her second as her first effort was initially saved but the rebound fell kindly to her and she made no mistake the second time of asking.

Lyon head towards their midweek fixture full of self-belief while Albi will be searching for answers once again as they try to drag themselves out of the relegation zone before the season ends in a few months time. The battle for survival will see more twists and turns over the next few weeks and Albi will hoping that they will still be in the top flight once all is said and done.

Juvisy bounce back with a win over Metz

FCF Juvisy have not had the season they had envisioned at the beginning of the season and after a demoralising loss against PSG in the last matchday, they needed to make a statement for their fans by picking up a good win against a side as poor as FC Metz. They managed to get all three points with a 3-1 win but questions will still remain about Emmanuel Beauchet's team.

Melike Pekel opened the scoring in the 9th minute for Metz after a defensive error by Juvisy's backline and the home side managed to hold onto that lead for the entirety of the first half. The half-time team talk must have awoken something in Juvisy and they came out of the locker room with more desire. Camille Catalan equalised for them in the 66th minute with her eighth goal of the season.

Kadidiatou Diani then gave the away side the go-ahead goal in the 70th minute and Lea Declercq capped things of in the 80th minute with her second goal of the season. Juvisy stay in sixth and will want to finish of their season with a high so this victory allows them to begin that process. Metz remain rooted at the bottom of the table with just three points and no wins, and look more and more likely to be returning to the second division once the season ends.​

Saki Kumagai started things off for a rampant OL | Source: olweb.fr
Saki Kumagai started things off for a rampant OL | Source: olweb.fr

Montpellier make the most of their chances against Guingamp

A shock elimination at the hands of AS Saint-Étienne in the Coupe de France left the away side, Montpellier HSC reeling and looking to find form again by winning at EA Guingamp. The home side had the better chances in the game but could not find the quality in front of goal to make it count. Montpellier did and took the lead in the fifth minute through Swede Stina BlacksteniusClarisse Le Bihan extended Montpellier's lead in the 30th minute as they made their possession count against Guingamp in the first half. The pattern of the game did not change in the second half but no goals came from it and it ended 2-0 to the visitors.

The win leaves Montpellier just one point off second after PSG's loss and they will want to push on from here and grab their spot in Europe next season as the window of opportunity seems to be there for the taking. Guingamp will look back at this game and know that they were in it had they found a way to convert their chances. That will be something that they will look to correct in the coming week but for now, they will have to stay in fifth place.

Rodez come out on top of a 3-2 thriller against Soyaux

ASJ Soyaux​ and Rodez AF thrilled those who watched the game with their dramatic 3-2 game. Rodez started off the match by pressing Soyaux high up the pitch and that pressure told when they won a penalty in the 19th minute. Flavie Lemaitre stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to give Rodez the lead. The visitors were not done with their scoring and leading club goal scorer Clara Noiran gave them a 2-0 lead in the 39th minute.

Noiran was at it again in the 51st minute to give Rodez a 3-0 win. Credit to Soyaux though who did not give up faced with a 3-0 deficit. Pamela Babinga clawed one back in the 67th minute after seeing her previous effort cannon off the cross bar and then Laura Bourgouin gave the home side hope with a great free-kick in the 72nd minute. Soyaux continued to push for an equaliser but could not find the final touch in front of goal to make it count and the game ended with Rodez picking up all three points.

This win moves Rodez into eighth, four points behind Soyaux but more importantly, six points away from the relegation zone. Soyaux will know that had they taken their chances, they could have moved further up the table but are left wondering what could have been after a rousing late surge that almost got them a point.

Saint-Étienne cannot find a way past Bordeaux

AS Saint-Étienne and FC Girondins de Bordeaux remained the only game without goals this weekend as the home side could not find the goal they desperately wanted. The home side created plenty of opportunities in front of goal but for one reason or the other, failed to convert their chances all game long.

Saint-Étienne remain in ninth, level on points with Albi but only four points away from the bottom two places in the table. Bordeaux will take this point though as it leaves them within touching distance of safety and at this stage of the season, with a potential "six-pointer" on the horizon, Bordeaux will take the draw.

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