© www.lpwp.fr 17 Mar No change in French Pro A League By: Tim Hartog National Leagues, France Pro A league This twelfth round of the French Pro A, which included matches of two different rounds spread over three days, has not helped to make this championship easy to follow. Some teams having even played two games less. Despite that fact that the ranking is unchanged with the teams of the "big three" ahead and Strasbourg that clings to its semi-final berth. On a strict accounting point of view, Marseille has made the best deal of the week by winning its two matches played two days apart. Both opponents of the Provencal players represented little danger and indeed, Marseille gained two easy victories the same way, by quickly showing its strength, technique and the quality of its substitutes. The club from the Canebière experienced absolutely no difficulty in getting rid of Douai (8-18) and Noisy (17-6). With these six points, Marseille recovers the leading position and has virtually secured its qualification for the semi-finals (there are only two points to score). Olivier Chandieu, the coach, has many reasons to be satisfied with these results, especially because no less than thirteen players have scored at least one goals in those two matches, Guillaume Dino (6 goals - pictured) being the best of them. One of Marseille’s forces is that the danger can come from anywhere! Guillaume Dino, from Marseille, in action (www.lpwp.fr) The other team already virtually qualified for the semifinals, Montpellier, received Saint-Jean d'Angely, which last results were pretty conclusive. But even without the goalie, Gabor Jaszberenyi (rest), and Mathieu Peisson (suspended), Montpellier has no difficulty in this game, even though the reigning champion was leading only by two goals at half-match (7-5). Geoffrey Laux and David Heinrich (4 goals each) waked their partners and the public late in the game, greatly helping to achieve an easy and logical victory (17-8). Team in top form at the moment, Strasbourg, went to Douai for a quite risky game, despite the low ranking of the northerners. Douai, probably hit by uncertainty of the future of the club in Pro A, played with only ten players and was even reduced to nine soon after the exclusion of Charles Valter for misconduct. Under these conditions, Strasbourg quickly took the lead after just five minutes and was not going to be outdone. One must say that the Alsatians have a particularly strong attack: Nikola Sutic (3 goals), Marko Bratic (3) and Romain Blary (2) showed all their abilities to a team of Douai quite distraught. If the final victory is relatively short (5-8) however Strasbourg was never in real danger. The last game of the day was played between two teams that fail to decideeach time they met this season. Indeed, after a draw in Sète (7-7), a second draw in the Cup of League (10-10, Lille winning 17-16 on penalty shoot-out), Lille received Sète for a game that promised to be well balanced and highly uncertain. Lille started well, opening the scoring and leading 2-0 after nine minutes. But Sète, far from its standing of last season, can still show itsusual "fighting spirit" and took over the command of the match until the beginning of the last period (5-6). Robin Lindhout, chose that moment to score his first (and only) goal, bringing his partner to 6-6. Edward Bahna and Dusan Dragic allowed Lille to regain the lead (8-6) with less than two minutes to go. Nor the goal of Tomislav Primorac (8-7) nor the ultimate man up situation allowed Sète gain the point of the draw (8-7 final score). Lille, who lost several matches with the shortest gap this season can legitimately be satisfied with this result. On the contrary, Sète, which has to play away its four next matches could have a rather difficult end of season. French Pro A League Results Douai – Marseille 8 – 18 (1-4, 2-4, 3-4, 2-6) Montpellier – Saint-Jean d’Angély 17 – 8 (2-1, 5-4, -51, 5-2) Lille – Sète 8 – 7 (1-0, 2-4, 2-2, 3-1) Marseille – Noisy 17 – 6 (4-2, 3-1, 5-2, 5-1) Douai – Strasbourg 5 – 8 (1-2, 2-4, 0-1n 2-1) Nice – Aix-en-Provence to be played on 8 April Standings after 12 matches: 1- Marseille (*) – 35 pts (+ 108) 2- Montpellier – 33 pts (+ 77) 3- Nice (**) – 22 pts (+ 55) 4- Strasbourg (***) – 20 pts (+ 3) 5- Aix-en-Provence (***) – 16 pts (- 17) 6- Douai (*) – 13 pt (- 38) 7 - Sète – 11 pt (- 27) 8- Lille – 10 pts (- 31) 9- Saint-Jean d’Angély – 7 pts (- 64) 10- Noisy – 3 pts (- 66) All teams with 12 matches played, except: (*) : 13 matches played (**) : 10 matches played (***) : 11 matches played Top scorers: 1 – Robin Lindhout (Lille) 45 goals 2 – Ugo Crousillat (Marseille) 41 goals 3 – Oscar Carrillo (Aix-en-Provence) 40 goals Next round 28th March Nice – Lille Aix-en-Provence – Strasbourg Montpellier – Sète Noisy – Saint-Jean d’Angély Thanks to Eric Dupont.