Destinations Magazine

Euro Lower League Week – The Long Awaited Return Edition

By Stizzard


The number one spot in Ligue 2 changed hands once more last weekend as Monaco had to come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Guingamp, who extended their unbeaten run to 12 games & were only denied a win by a last minute Adriano leveller. Nantes beat local rivals Tours 3-1 24 hours earlier & top the table on goal difference. Caen remain in third place despite their recent inconsistent form as they drew a blank in Clermont in a 0-0 draw. Four teams are within three points of Caen in the last automatic spot, led by Angers who climbed above Guingamp following a routine 2-0 home win over Arles, with Romanian striker Claudio Keseru notching his 12th goal of the season. Nimes made it seven games unbeaten as they recorded a fourth straight win, with new signings Riad Nouri & Jean Alain Fanchone on target as they beat Sedan 2-1. Dijon won the Monday night game with Lens by the same score, ending the visitor’s 12 game unbeaten run.

Sedan’s loss at in form Nimes leaves them nine points from Arles in the safety of 17th place ,although they do have two games in hand. Gazelec Ajaccio drew another blank despite bringing in the proven Ligue 2 goalscorer Jean Francois Riviere in the transfer window as they were beaten 1-0 at home to Le Havre. Despite a respectable draw at a Niort side who had won their last two games, Laval stay in the bottom but such is the tight nature of Ligue 2, they are only one win away from mid table.


Serie B returned to action following a short winter break & there was no shortage of drama as leaders Sassuolo were beaten 2-1 at Crotone. Deep into injury time, the visitors were clean through before the referee blew his whistle moments before the ball hit the back of the net for what would have been a dramatic leveller, but Sassuolo returned home without a share of the spoils amid angry scenes at the final whistle. Livorno were held to a 0-0 draw at Padova but close the gap on the leaders to three points. Hellas Verona won 1-0 at Spezia thanks to a late headed winner from top scorer Daniele Cacia & move to two points from Livorno in the second automatic spot. Hellas hold a 10 point lead over fourth placed Varese after they were surprisingly beaten at home to Virtus Lanciano, who have now won three games on the trot to lift them away from the drop zone. Empoli stay in the play-off places despite a 2-0 home loss to Novara ending a run of eight games unbeaten, Novara struck twice in the second half to record their fifth win in six games as they head towards the safety of mid table. Brescia fought out a goalless draw at Juve Stabia on Monday night to climb above Modena & into the last play-off spot.

Grosseto were without talisman striker Ferdinando Sforzini who is poised for a move away from the club but they still recorded a fine 3-1 win over Cittadella which included a debut goal for Federico Piovaccari a seasoned Serie B goalscorer who joined on loan from Sampdoria, but Grosseto are still ten points from safety. The other two relegation spots are taken by Pro Vercelli who drew 0-0 with Reggina & Vicenza who have fired coach Roberto Breda after a 3-1 loss at Cesena, appointing Alessandro Dal Canto to replace him. The two relegation play-off places are currently held by Bari who were beaten 1-0 at home to in form Ascoli & Cesena but six other teams are within four points of them both.

Has Ferdinando Sforzini played his last game for Grosseto? Courtesy of Hellaslive

Has Ferdinando Sforzini played his last game for Grosseto? Courtesy of Hellaslive


Elche stay 11 points clear at the top of Liga Adelante after a 2-0 derby win over Hercules in front of almost 18000 fans, 1500 of those went home disappointed as the visitors’ hopes of a third straight win were dashed.  Almeria stay in the second automatic spot after a 2-0 success at Xerez who are now 10 games without a win & Girona are one point behind them on 41 points after beating Guadalajara by the same scoreline thanks to two late goals, visiting keeper Razak Brimah finally having his net breached after 442 minutes without conceding. Alcorcon got back to winning ways to stay fourth after a 1-0 win over Ponferradina who have now lost three of the last four & Barcelona B won Mini El Classico in front of around 15000 fans coming from behind to beat 10 man Real Madrid Castilla 3-1.

Razak Brimah, the Ghanian keeper breached by Girona after 442 minutes. Courtesy of oscar de marcos

Razak Brimah, the Ghanian keeper breached by Girona after 442 minutes. Courtesy of oscar de marcos

Las Palmas lost their second away game on the trot & drop out of the play-off places after they went down 3-1 at Lugo, new signing from Peruvian football Andy Pando didn’t play & may well make his début against leaders Elche at the weekend. Cordoba jump above Las Palmas with a 3-1 success at rock bottom Racing Santander, who ended up finishing the game with only eight men. There was another fiery affair at Murcia, where the home side had two players dismissed in the 1-1 draw with Sporting Gijon, taking their tally of sending offs this season to 14 in 24 league & cup games.

Racing Santander are now six points from safety & Hercules four, Xerez’s defeat at home to Almeria drops them into the relegation zone two points behind Mirandes in the safety of 18th place & Huesca complete the bottom four, one behind Mirandes after a fine 2-1 win at Numancia & there is light at the end of the tunnel as their form has dramatically improved since the arrival of coach Jorge D’Alessandro. Promoted last season, Mirandes have also found form in recent months & just two losses in 12 games have lifted them out of the drop zone for the first time since October.


2. Bundesliga swings back into action this weekend after a lengthy winter break, leaders Eintracht Braunschweig have picked up some mid season friendly knocks but will hope the loan signing of Manchester City’s Omar Elabdellaoui will give the team a lift. Third placed Kaiserslautern have been the busiest in the winter break with no fewer than five players joining the club & there are some good quality players among them. Cottbus also have been active, bringing in four players including former Union Berlin striker John Jairo Mosquera. Hertha Berlin in second place seem happy with their lot, only Elias Kachunga who was on loan from Borrusia Monchengladbach has left to join Paderborn on loan.

Born Offside

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