© www.lpwp.fr 09 Apr Marseille still undefeated and leader again By: Tim Hartog National Leagues, France Pro A league Spread over five days (from Saturday 4th to Wednesday 8th April) the 14th round of the French Pro A League was long, but has almost definitively clarified the situation, at least in the top rankings. Beating Montpellier, Marseille regained its position of "natural leader", while Strasbourg has secured its place in the semifinals. Marseille which is supposed to have the best squad, was at least “natural leader" in one way, because it was the only undefeated team in this championship. However, two draws (against Nice and Strasbourg) have cost the Provencals the leadership of the league, to the benefit of Montpellier, who were only beaten by … Marseille! The return leg was therefore announced as decisive for the top spot, but also for the psychological advantage gained for the play-offs by the winner. Unlike the first leg, where Marseille had quickly taken the lead (10-2), before managing a more difficult late game (final score 11-8), this time the debates were roughly balanced during two periods. Despite a good start of Marseille, led by Thibault Simon (4-2;1st period), Montpellier came back to tie at mid-match (5-5), thanks to Uros Kalinic (2 goals). Deprived of its best striker, Mathieu Peisson (suspended), Montpellier collapsed in the third period: Thibault Simon (2 goals), Alexandre Camarasa and Ugo Crousillat passed a scathing 0-4 to totally dumb opponents (5-10; 3rd quarter). The last period (1-1) did not change anything, and the victory of Marseille (6-11) reflects perfectly the current gap between the two dominant teams in France for 6 years. Besides recovering the leading position with this third victory (Cup of League included), Marseille also strongly marked the spirits. Robin Lindhout (Lille) – www.lpwp.fr The other "summit" of the round did not concern the two best teams, but the two best scorers: Lille, led by Robin Lindhout, received Aix-en-Provence, led by Oscar Carrillo. For some weeks the two scorers were less effective, but their head-to-head duel "awakened" them. If on an individual point of view, the Spanish player (8 goals) won against the Dutch player (6 goals), on a team point of view, the Northerners had beaten the Provencals (15-14) after a constant crossover, who finished only 30 seconds from the end with an ultimate goal by... Robin Lindhout. This victory definitely ruin the hopes of Aix-en-Provence to catch a semifinal berth, while momentarily comforting the top scorer’s position of Robin Lindhout. Momentarily since, in the last match of this 14th round, Aix-en-Provence was playing in Nice this wednesday for a postponed match of the championship. Oscar Carrillo, still in great shape, scored 5 times to take the lead of the top scorer (55 goals). Alas, this was not enough, since Nice remained master in its venue, mainly thanks to an excellent beginning (5-1 1st period) and an equally good last period (6-2). Nevertheless, Nice was hardly convincing, even being tied by Aix-en-Provence during the match (9-9). Fortunately, Jure Nastran (5 goals) and David Babic (3 goals), in a great day, put Nice away late in the game (final score: 16-11), Oscar Carrillo (Aix-en-Provence - www.lpwp.fr Moreover, Nice had hardly been more convincing against Douai on Saturday by widening the gap late in the third period. 2-3, 5-5, 7-11, 9-14 (final score), the evolution of the score doesn’t say clearly the difficulty encountered by Nice. This time it was Emmanuel Laversanne and Marino Divkovic (3 goals each), leading their team to victory in the second part of the match. In the last two matches of this long 14th round, Sète was reassured by winning in Saint-Jean d'Angely (11-13), for the first time in almost four months, while Strasbourg sauntered, crushing Noisy (19-4) in a one-sided match, where Nikola Sutic and Marko Bratic (5 goals each) demonstrated their usual efficiency. French Pro A League Results: Lille – Aix-en-Provence 15 – 14 (5-3, 3-5, 2-2 ; 5-4) Montpellier – Marseille 6 – 11 (2-4, 3-2, 0-4, 1-1) Douai – Nice 9 – 14 (2-3, 3-2, 2-6, 2-3)) Saint-Jean d’Angély – Sète 11 – 13 (0-2, 4-4, 3-3, 4-4) Strasbourg – Noisy 19 – 4 (8-2, 6-1, 2-1, 3-0) Nice – Aix-en-Provence 16 – 11 (5-1, 2-4, 3-4, 6-2) Postponed match of the 10th round Standings after 14 matches: 1- Marseille – 38 pts (+ 113) 2- Montpellier – 36 pts (+ 81) 3- Nice (*) – 31 pts (+ 67) 4- Strasbourg (*) – 26 pts (+ 19) 5- Aix-en-Provence – 16 pts (- 24) 6- Sète – 14 pt (- 29) 7 - Lille – 13 pts (- 32) 8- Douai – 13 pt (- 43) 9- Saint-Jean d’Angély – 7 pts (- 67) 10- Noisy – 6 pts (- 80) All teams with 14 matches played, except (*) : 13 matches played Top scorers: 1 – Oscar Carrillo (Aix-en-Provence) 55 goals 2 – Robin Lindhout (Lille) 51 goals 3 – Ugo Crousillat (Marseille) 42 goals Next round 10th, 11th and 15th April: Nice – Montpellier (10th april) Aix-en-Provence – Douai Strasbourg – Saint-Jean d’Angély Sète – Marseille Noisy – Lille Nice – Strasbourg (15th april) Thanks to Eric Dupont.