Division 1 Féminine action returned from its winter break this past weekend at the biggest talking point belong to a team at the bottom and two teams still fighting for a potential continental berth next season.
FC Metz was one the teams that needed to start the year right and try to drag themselves out of the relegation zone. They did just that by picking up a big 2-1 win over En Avant de Guingamp. Things did not start off well for the hosts as in the 26th minute, goalkeeper Justine Lerond tripped up Louise Fleury who was through on goal. Léa Le Garrec then dispatched the penalty cooly into the right side of the goal, past Lerond's attempt to stop the ball. The score remain that way for the rest of the first half and Metz knew they needed a big second 45 minutes to turn the game around. They got that almost immediately as Marie-Laure Delie brought the two teams level in the 47th minute after she finished smartly from close range after a corner kick. Both teams pushed for a winner but it was Metz who found the back of the net in the 88th minute through Léa Khelifi.
Metz pushed themselves into tenth with this win and are now two points above the bottom two teams. There is still a long way to go this season but this win could be what Metz needed to regain some form and separate themselves further from the relegation scrap. Guingamp will be disappointed not to get something from this game and stay in seventh due to the result. They are still five points clear of the relegation zone but will not want to slip up any further.
Montpellier 2 - 0 Soyaux
Montpellier HSC bounced back from their demolishing at the hands of the current champions before the winter break with a 2-0 win over ASJ Soyaux. Janice Cayman opened the scoring from the penalty spot in extra time of the first half after a handball in the area was given against Soyaux. Clarisse Le Bihan then settled the game with a strong header from a corner kick in the 47th minute. Soyaux did not trouble Montpellier much throughout the game and ended up succumbing to a superior team on the day.
Montpellier move up into fourth and although they are 17 points away from a UEFA Women's Champions League spot, they will want to push on from this weekend and start picking up points again. Soyaux stay in eighth, tied on points with Guingamp and still decidedly not safe from a relegation fight just yet.
Paris FC were given a bit of a scare by FC Fleury 91 this weekend but they managed to hold on for a bounce back win to keep themselves in the hunt for a continental place. Clara Mateo pounced on some miscommunication at the back in the 16th minute to put Paris ahead and then Marina Makanza finished powerfully with her head in the 51st minute to put Paris ahead by two. Daphne Corboz made things interesting in the 73rd minute with a well taken penalty after goalkeeper Karima Benameur had fouled Alex Lamontagne but it was not enough to get a result for Fleury this weekend.
Paris now sit in fifth and will be happy with coming back into league action with a win. They will now try to pick up as many points as possible in the second half of the season. Fleury slide down into sixth thanks to this loss against Paris but with only a point separating both teams at this point, Fleury know that if they stay positive, they can keep their ascent up the table going over the coming weeks.
Rodez AF may have hoped to catch the champions Olympique Lyonnais ill-prepared with the first league match of the year in their sights but it was not to be as they were swept away by four goals to nil. Eugénie Le Sommer, who is having another outstanding season, set OL on their way in the 16th minute with a header that flew past the goalkeeper who had been moving in the opposite direction. Wendie Renard then added a second in the 22nd minute when she got on the end of Dzsenifer Marozsán's corner and then Le Sommer made it three in the 32nd minute when she arrived to finish off a move that saw the goalkeeper deny Shanice van de Sanden twice. Marozsán then got on the scoresheet herself a minute later with a smart finish from the top of the penalty area to put emphasis on another dominant OL performance.
OL remain at the top of the table and continue to look like a runaway train that no one will be able to catch. Even with duties to fulfill in the Champions League and the Coupe de France Féminine, OL's roster is deep enough to keep them competitive on all fronts. Rodez remain rooted at the bottom of the table but despite the loss, will know that if they manage to pick up points against some of the lesser teams in the league, they can get themselves out of trouble.
Marie-Antoinette Katoto picked up where she left off before the break as she led Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 win away to Lille OSC. Katoto started things off with a close range header in the 38th minute and then Shuang Wang put PSG up by two goals with a nicely taken penalty a minute later. Justine Bauduin gave the hosts some hope in the 64th minute but Katoto showed up again in the 85th minute to make sure that PSG left Lille with all three points.
PSG remain just two points behind the league leaders OL and 17 points clear of their nearest challengers for a Champions League place. They know they cannot afford to drop any points if they want to give OL a real race for the title. Lille drop down into eleventh and will know that it's not results against the likes of PSG that will determine their season. They will need points against those around them in the table to make sure they do not get dropped into the second division when the season ends.
FC Girondins de Bordeaux continue to defy expectations as they picked up a tough 1-0 win over the visiting Dijon FCO. The only goal of the game came deep into extra time at the end of the first half. Claire Lavogez, whose found a new lease of life in Bordeaux, sent in a great free kick delivery which was met by Justine Thibaud to put Bordeaux ahead before the break. Neither side could find another goal in the game after that and Bordeaux came away with their first win of 2019.
Bordeaux currently sit in third, level on points with Montpellier, and currently the closest challengers to PSG for the second continental spot. It has been a great first half to the season for Bordeaux and they will look to keep that going in the second half. Dijon remain in ninth and will not want to drop any more points over the coming weeks. With only four points separating themselves from Lille, they know they will need to start winning again soon to stay ahead of the relegation battle.