Destinations Magazine

European Lower League Week – Vaarwel Veendam

By Stizzard


The most eagerly anticipated game of the Ligue 2 season took place on Saturday lunchtime as leaders Monaco traveled north with their four point lead to take on their closest challengers Nantes. A crowd of 36471 packed out La Beaujoire including an impressive 577 visiting Monegasque fans, who embarked on a mammoth 1600 kilometres round trip to follow their team. The home side settled better & carved out several good chances whilst keeping the lively visiting forward line reasonably subdued & took a deserved lead just before the break when Adrian Trebel fired in a fine low drive which beat Croatian goalkeeper Daniel Subasic & went in off the post. Monaco pushed forward after the break & drew level just after the hour mark when Remy Riou was beaten at his near post by a cross-cum-shot from 18 year old Argentine wonderkid Lucas Ocampos, who wheeled away in delight to celebrate with the traveling support.

La Beaujoire was packed to the rafters for the visit of Monaco. Courtesy of 0m_man8

La Beaujoire was packed to the rafters for the visit of Monaco. Courtesy of 0m_man8

Caen & Guingamp seem to swap the final promotion place on a weekly basis & that was the case again this week as Caen were held to a 1-1 draw with relegation threatened Arles. The visitors arrived having won two of their last three games but fell behind when Alexandre Cuvillier, who had only been on the pitch a few minutes, took advantage of an error from Ludovic Butelle to put the promotion chasers 1-0 up. Arles leveled 12 minutes from time when Romain Rocchi volleyed in a beauty after a free kick was only half cleared. Those dropped Caen points let Guingamp  back into third place with a 2-1 success over second bottom Sedan. Having lost their last three away games, Guingamp needed a good start & got it when Rachid Alioui struck after eight minutes. Sedan leveled before the hour mark through Yoann Court but when you are fighting the drop like Sedan are, they could have done without a last minute kick in the teeth that Ladislas Douniama dished out when he bagged the winning goal & gave Guingamp a two point advantage in the promotion race.

Angers left it late before collecting all three points in Chateauroux. Ayari had given Angers the lead before two goals in as many minutes put Chateauroux ahead. In the second minute of injury time, St Etienne loanee Yoric Ravet dramatically levelled before Matar Fall scored the winner with practically the last kick of the game, leaving the Chateauroux players distraught. Nimes failed to take the chance to keep up with the promotion chasers as they were beaten 1-0 at home to Le Havre. The home side looked lethargic & the visitors, who looked sharper throughout, took the lead just after the half hour through Geoffrey Malfluery’s sixth of the season in his first league start since early January. Dijon slipped up in the race for promotion as they could only claim a point from the visit to Auxerre. The game finished goalless & leaves Dijon five unbeaten but seven points behind third place.

With Sedan losing, Gazelec Ajaccio could have leapfrogged over them with a win at fellow strugglers Niort but a 2-1 loss means GFCO have now lost nine of their last ten games. Local rivals Laval & Le Mans faced up in a big relegation battle with the home side moving four points clear of Le Mans who remain third bottom following a 2-1 loss. Ghislain Gimbert grabbed the winner eight minutes from time, notching his seventh goal of the season and beating his tally in the last two seasons in the process. Gimbert swept in the winner from close range but the two goals that preceded it were outstanding. Goncalves fired Laval into the lead with a perfectly placed free kick & Le Mans levelled minutes through Omrani whose exquisite turn in the box created room for the equalizer.


As the second round of Easter fixtures is over, the news of the sad demise of SC Veendam looks only a matter of hours away from being confirmed. The club have put out a Twitter message saying that it is the end of the club, despite great efforts from supporters who in a short space of time arranged concerts, SMS & Internet funding. Although an official statement is yet to hit the press, it is only the faintest of faint hopes that the club will pull through & their 2-1 victory over Oss two weeks ago is almost certain to be their last ever fixture. Whether Veendam will reform & start at the lower levels  like RBC Roosendaal have done remains to be seen, but hope springs eternal & hopefully we have not seen the last of a football team in Veendam.

Training is off. SC Veendam closed their doors this week. Courtesy of SCVeendam

Training is off. SC Veendam closed their doors this week. Courtesy of SCVeendam

The curse of the top spot struck again as Sparta Rotterdam suffered their third defeat on the trot in front of a season’s best crowd of 10800 at home to Emmen, which drops Sparta to fourth in the table. New leaders are Helmond Sport, who ended Den Bosch’s 10 game unbeaten run to hit the top spot with 51 points. Also on 51 points are Volendam, for whom Jack Tuyp notched his 23rd goal of the season in the 2-0 win at bottom of the table Eindhoven. MVV Maastricht won 2-1 at Telstar and also are on 51 points.

Cambuur had only won one in six prior to the visit from Go Ahead Eagles but a 2-0 win put them above the visitors into fifth place & they also have two games in hand on Go Ahead & one on Sparta, who are four points ahead in fourth place. De Graafschap didn’t play & find themselves down in seventh place, two points ahead of Fortuna Sittard who beat second bottom Excelsior 4-2.


The top two extended their lead at the top last weekend after both recorded home victories over struggling opposition. Hertha Berlin beat Bochum 2-0 whilst Eintracht Braunschweig came from behind to beat Dynamo Dresden 2-1. Hertha’s lead at the top remains at only one point whilst Eintracht Braunschweig have a 12 point advantage over third place. The race for third took a twist as Kaiserslautern were held 1-1 at relegation threatened Sandhausen, giving Koln the chance to climb to their highest position of the season & they did just that with a late Royer strike in a 2-1 success over rock bottom Jahn Regensburg. Koln are now 15 games unbeaten & have won five of their last six games ahead of today’s crunch clash at Kaiserslautern. The Red Devils have dropped out of the top three for the first time since Week 8 & are now only four points ahead of 1860 Munich in fifth, who won 1-0 at Aue, and five points in front of FSV Frankfurt, whose excellent season continued with a fine 3-0 win over fellow play-off hopefuls Union Berlin. Inconsistent Cottbus were disappointingly held 1-1 at home to an out of form Aalen & drop to seventh place.

A gap is emerging at the bottom as Duisburg won 1-0 at Ingolstadt & go five points ahead of Aue. Aue have 28 points & are two points ahead of Bochum, who in turn are two ahead of Dynamo Dresden, who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot. Sandhausen stay in the drop zone but their much welcome point at home to Kaiserslautern leaves them just one point behind Dresden & five points in front of Jahn Regensburg, who are looking increasingly like bouncing straight back into 3.Liga.


The battle of the top two ended all square as Hellas Verona came from behind to draw 1-1 at Sassuolo. Verona remain in second place as Livorno could only manage a draw at Bari, leaving Hellas & Livorno locked on 64 points each as they battle for the second & final automatic promotion spot. Sassuolo are nine points ahead & with only eight games remaining, it would take a monumental loss of form for them not to be competing in Serie A next season. Empoli in fourth closed the gap on second & third after a Francesco Tavano penalty gave them all three points at second bottom Pro Vercelli & after five games without a win, fifth placed Varese got back to winning ways with a 3-0 success over Reggina, ending Giuseppe Pillon’s two game winning start at the helm of the Southerners. A run of four straight wins & a 10 game unbeaten run has seen Novara climb the table & they occupy the final play-off position after a thumping 6-2 win at Cittadella. Novara, who were relegated from Serie A last season, will have to show their promotion credentials this weekend as leaders Sassuolo visit the Silvio Piola.

It is looking likely that the three teams currently occupying the automatic drop spots will suffer the drop as Grosseto, Pro Vercelli & Vicenza all lost at the weekend & are losing ground on the teams above. In the relegation play-off places are Reggina & Cittadella but no fewer than seven teams are within three points of them.


Elche remain 12 points clear at the top of Liga Adelante after a 0-0 draw at lowly Racing Santander. Second place Alcorcon were also held 1-1 at Murcia. The race for the second automatic place gets tighter by the week & Almeria move up to third after ending a run of three successive losses with a 2-1 win at Huesca & are just one point behind Alcorcon. Girona slip to fourth after losing at in-form Numancia & they are joined on 54 points (two behind second place) by Villarreal, who fell behind at Mirandes but ran out 5-1 winners with a brace from recent signing Jeremy Perbet. Las Palmas hold the last play-off spot on 51 points despite a first home defeat in nine as Guadalajara left the Canary Islands with maximum points thanks to a Juanjo goal in a game watched by a season’s best crowd of 23985.

Will Girona fans be celebrating promotion to La Liga soon? Courtesey of arnaugir

Will Girona fans be celebrating promotion to La Liga soon? Courtesey of arnaugir

Ponferradina are the closest challengers to Las Palmas in seventh, two points behind the Islanders whom they welcome to Estadio El Toralin in a huge game this weekend. Sporting Gijon, who have been at the wrong end of the table all season, have now won five of their last six games & are just five points behind Las Palmas with a visit to out of form Sabadell at the weekend.

Xerez look as good as doomed after their 20th game without a win as they lost 4-0 at Lugo. Huesca drop two places to second bottom after they lost & Racing Santander & Hercules both picked up a point. Hercules are now one point behind Mirandes as they look to climb out of the bottom four for the first time this season.

Born Offside

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog