Steve Mandanda

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French goalkeeper throws ball into own net

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There’s own-goals, and then there’s own-goals. French goalkeeper Brice Maubleu scored an own-goal.

The Grenoble goalkeeper, taking on fellow Ligue 2 side Caen on Friday, threw the ball into his own net in the 18th minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.

It appeared that Maubleu was attempting to distribute the ball to one of his defenders only to pull back at the last minute, and upon his attempt to halt the throw, he instead tossed it back towards his own net. The 30-year-old captain attempted to scramble back and stop the ball, and he very well may have, but the referee gave the goal and replays were inconclusive.

You can watch video of the brutal own-goal here.

Maubleu confirmed that was his intention after the fact. “There are dark evenings and this is one of them,” the Grenoble captain said after the match. “On the goal, I wanted to quickly set Jerome (Mombris) away, but I saw that he was not looking at me so I revised my decision and then the ball left my hands”

Maubleu recalled when French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda did something similar while playing for Marseille in 2012, throwing the ball right to an opposition attacker who easily buried the ball into the empty net. “This happens sometimes and people think that it can’t possibly happen to others. In the end, I play the ball thinking that all was still ok but apparently the ball had already gone in,” Maubleu said.

“I am disappointed because it gave our opponent a two-goal lead. I will have to quickly get back working and move on, because it will likely do the rounds on social media. The goalkeeper position is exposed and there are risks. After that, I was back in my match and made saves even though those won’t be remembered.”

The 30-year-old Maubleu has played for just Tours FC and Grenoble in his career, making two Ligue 1 appearances in 2009 before spending the rest of his time in Ligue 2.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: De Gea replacement tabbed, Man City duo to stay

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Manchester United has been linked with a zillion players this summer, and half the battle for fans is sifting through the nonsense and finding the deals that might actually make sense for the club.

One that seems to have significant legs is a report from a number of English tabloids on Monday and Tuesday that states Manchester United has made contact with Lille over goalkeeper Mike Maignan, seeing the French club respond with a valuation of around $39 million.

It seems the Red Devils are searching for long-term plans to replace David De Gea, whether the Spaniard leaves this summer via a sale or next summer at the expiration of his contract. Contract talks with de Gea have very publicly stalled over the past few months, and rumors again have flown of his eventual exit. The reports state that Manchester United had preliminary discussions with Barcelona for backup goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, but the Spanish side has reportedly been steadfast on holding to the Dutchman’s release clause of $67 million.

That has seen them search for cheaper options amid a summer that is expected to be expensive for the Red Devils. One could be Maignan who played every minute of Lille’s fabulous second-place Ligue 1 campaign last season, keeping 15 clean sheets and sporting the league’s best defensive record with 33 goals conceded in 38 matches. The club conceded two or more goals in a game just nine times all league season, and conceded three goals just once. The 23-year-old, who came to Lille in 2015 from PSG’s youth squad, was named goalkeeper of the year by the French professional footballers association for his fantastic campaign this year and earned his first call-up to the France national team squad for this summer’s Euro qualifiers, beating out Hugo Lloris‘s World Cup backup Steve Mandanda.


The two Manchester rivals appear to be the leaders in the chase for Benfica playmaker Joao Felix, with The Mirror stating the two clubs are in control of the market as they hope to get one last glimpse of the 19-year-old as Portugal takes on Switzerland in the Nations League semifinal Wednesday where the teenager is expected to earn his senior debut.

The report states that Felix could cost as much as a massive $150 million after a season where he racked up 15 goals and nine assists in league play for the Portuguese champions, plus another five goals and two assists in other competitions. Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked to Felix in the past, but a report late last week said Los Blancos were scared off by his massive price, seeing a bid of around $101 million rejected, causing them to focus their efforts instead on Eden Hazard.

With superagent Jorge Mendes in tow, Felix and Benfica are both certain to cash in this summer, but it remains to be seen which club can snag his services. Manchester City would likely need to offload the likes of Leroy Sane in order to both raise the funds and create squad space for Felix.


The potential sale of Sane to Bayern Munich, which ramped up over the last week after the German side submitted a sizable bid for the 23-year-old, has seemed to hit a wall. Bayern hoped to pry Sane away from Manchester City after an up-and-down season saw the German international fail to secure a steady place in the starting lineup. Still, City seems ready to put up a fight, rejecting the bid and causing Bayern executive Uli Hoeness to declare the English club’s valuation of Sane “insane.”

While Sane’s future remains up in the air, a pair of other Man City stars look set to stay at the Etihad next season with David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan both eyeing more silverware in Manchester according to the BBC. Silva’s contract expires next summer, but at 33 years old, the club is happy to see him play out the remainder of his deal, as he would likely net very little in the transfer market this time around. Despite his increasing age, Silva has remained a critical part of the Man City attack, making 33 league appearances last season while scoring six goals and assisting eight. He started all but four of City’s final 19 matches as they battled Liverpool for the Premier League title.

Gundogan was also a fixture in the squad, shaking off an early hamstring injury that cost him all of October to make 31 Premier League appearances and starting all but one of the final 14 matches of the season to help carry the title chase. According to the BBC report, talks are ongoing to extend Gundogan’s contract which currently expires next summer. The 28-year-old joined three summers ago from Borussia Dortmund, and while he lost most of his first season with the club to an ACL tear, he has come back to prove a vital player in Pep Guardiola‘s setup.

The report does state, however, that Fabian Delph and Danilo could look to move on this summer after a season that proved trying for both to find consistent time on the pitch.


Another Premier League attacker who could be set to stay at his current club is Champions League final goalscorer Divock Origi, who according to The Mirror has been offered a new contract. The club is reportedly confident of tying down the 24-year-old to a new deal, with his current contract set to expire next summer.

Origi was a Champions League hero, scoring twice in the miracle comeback against Barcelona before his goal sealed the title in the 2-0 win over Tottenham. His three critical goals came on his only three shots in Champions League play, failing to record many minutes prior to his appearances down the stretch as necessitated by an injury to regular striker Roberto Firmino.

Still just 24 years old, Origi has not been a regular part of the Liverpool squad since arriving from Lille in 2014, instead loaned back to Lille before a loan spell at Germany’s Wolfsburg. He decided to stay at Anfield this season and fight for a place, earning just 366 Premier League minutes and 763 minutes across all competitions. Still, his performances in the biggest games of the season have seen him become a fan favorite, and staying at Anfield will make the Liverpool faithful happy.


Amid recent rape allegations surrounding an incident in Paris, Neymar has been reportedly unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain after the club’s most recent Champions League flop and his own flurry of personality issues. Still, he is signed on with the club through the summer of 2022, leaving him under PSG control for at least the next season or two.

According to a report by French radio station RMC Sport as passed on by Spanish publication Marca, PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelafi has deemed Neymar “untransferrable” and has said the Brazilian superstar will not leave the club this summer despite interest from both Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Marseille suffers damaging defeat at Bordeaux

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Olympique Marseille suffered a massive blow in its chase for a Champions League place, losing at Bordeaux by a 2-0 score thanks to goals by Francois Kamano and Nicolas de Preville.

Bordeaux has been a house of horrors for Marseille, and Friday’s result did nothing to change that sentiment. Marseille, having not won at Bordeaux in 42 years, suffered a blow to its Champions League hopes with the defeat as the visitors remained a point back of fourth-placed St. Etienne who now has two games in hand.

A hand-ball by Nemanja Radonjic in the 27th minute put Bordeaux at the penalty spot, and Kamano converted the spot-kick with a stutter step that sent Steve Mandanda the wrong way, easily burying the ball after the goalkeeper found the turf. The second came with 20 minutes to go as de Preville took a Marseille turnover just past midfield and burst forward all by himself, splitting two defenders in the box before slotting home.

Bordeaux defender Pablo was sent off with eight minutes to go for barging into Mario Balotelli off the ball, but Marseille had no response. Ultimately, while Marseille finished with 65% possession and 20 total shots, they put just five of those efforts on target. Meanwhile, Bordeaux miraculously put all seven of its shots on target, sealing the win.

The defeat secures Marseille’s embarrassing and lightning-quick collapse. The club rose from seventh to fourth in just a month, finding themselves in a Champions League place by mid-march thanks to a five-match unbeaten run that included four wins, highlighted by a defeat of St. Etienne. They immediately slumped, winless in the next three matches with two defeats in that span, falling out of the Champions League race as quickly as they’d risen into it.

Bordeaux’s streak of dominance at home over Marseille is something to behold. In those 42 years, they’ve gone 34 matches unbeaten, with 21 wins and 13 draws. It is the longest such streak in French top flight history. In addition, Bordeaux’s opener was the ninth penalty goal conceded by Marseille this league season, the most by any Top 5 team in Europe this season.

Di Maria brace seals 3-1 win for PSG over Marseille

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Kylian Mbappe and Valere Germain bracketed the halftime whistle with last-minute/first-minute goals, but Angel Di Maria’s second-half brace proved the difference as Paris Saint-Germain topped Marseille 3-1 to restore its 20-point Ligue 1 lead and leave the visitors exposed in the Champions League race.

Marseille came into the match in good form, unbeaten in its last six matches with five wins in that span, but they were no match for Di Maria who had a hand in all three goals. Mbappe opened the scoring at Parc de Princes in first-half stoppage time with a clinical fastbreak, finishing off a feed from Di Maria that pushed the Frenchman to the left, but no matter as he calmly slotted the ball inside the far post to break the deadlock.

The visitors earned a lucky equalizer just 24 seconds after the break as Valere Germain picked up the goal, with both his strike and Lucas Ocampos’s assist were deflected before reaching its destination. From there, Di Maria took over for his first multi-goal game of the season.

His first came in the 55th minute via a mistake at the back from Hiroki Sakai who stepped to a ball and allowed Di Maria to get free down the right, and he produced a low finish from a very tight angle to put PSG in front.

From there, Marseille fell a man down as goalkeeper Steve Mandanda came nearly 40 yards out of his net to challenge Di Maria on a breakaway, and in his sliding challenge, the ball struck his outstretched hand, leaving the referee no choice but to send him off. Just three minutes later, Di Maria put the game away with an unbelievable free-kick from at least 25 yards that found the top-right corner.

The performance moves Di Maria to nine goals and 10 assists for the season, leaving him one goal away from a season double-double that only Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi have achieved among the top five European leagues.

Henry’s Monaco draws 1-1 with Vieira’s Nice in French league

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PARIS (AP) Old friends Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira had to split the points as Monaco drew 1-1 with French Riviera rival Nice on Wednesday in a scrappy match featuring three video reviews.

Winger Allan Saint-Maximin put Nice ahead in the 30th minute and 17-year-old defender Benoit Badiashile equalized shortly after halftime, becoming the youngest scorer in the French top flight this season. Badiashile’s header from a corner was deemed to have crossed the line by the use of goal-line technology.

[MORE: Ligue 1 scores, schedule]

Henry and Vieira are in their first seasons coaching in France, but they go way back and hugged warmly before kickoff.

Living next to each other in London, they blossomed with Arsenal and were part of the famed “Invincibles” side which went a whole season unbeaten in the Premier League. The Frenchmen also won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship in 2000, as well as playing together in the 2006 World Cup final.

Having started their illustrious careers as teenagers on the French Riviera – Henry with Monaco and Vieira with Cannes – they have come full circle as coaches.

Monaco had chances through Aleksandr Golovin and Rony Lopes, only for Nice to strike against the run of play following a sloppy mistake from Youssef Ait Bennasser. After he gave the ball away in midfield, Saint-Maximin took it off him easily and shrugged off defender Jemerson before shooting confidently past goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

The goal was awarded before being checked and confirmed by referee Benoit Bastien using VAR. Moments before the interval, he consulted VAR again to send off Nice striker Ihsan Sacko for a late challenge on defender Benjamin Heinrichs.

“There’s a lot of frustration and questions about the decisions. The red card is very harsh,” Vieira said. “It wasn’t a dangerous action and it had a negative impact on us.”

Bastien used VAR for the third time to award a penalty in the 75th, ruling that Badiashile impeded right back Youcef Atal when images suggested Atal initiated contact with Badiashile before tumbling down.

Benaglio guessed correctly to keep out Saint-Maximim’s spot kick. Monaco almost won it near the end when Radamel Falcao hit the post with a curling effort.

“A point isn’t enough for us, but we could have been sat here talking about a defeat,” Henry said. “I have no opinion about the VAR, those are their decisions. Diego saved the penalty – so much the better for us.”

Monaco has not won at home this season and is 19th – only one point ahead of last-place Guingamp, which beat Rennes 2-1 at home.

OTHER MATCHES

VAR also played a key role elsewhere as Saint-Etienne equalized with a penalty in a 2-1 home win against Marseille.

Referee Antony Gautier awarded the penalty in the 56th after goalkeeper Steve Mandanda upended forward Wahbi Khazri.

Gautier then changed his mind after the linesman signaled Khazri was offside when receiving the pass, but further confusion ensued as he then consulted VAR and re-awarded the penalty, which was confidently tucked away by Khazri.

There was no debating Khazri’s late winner, struck ferociously from 20 meters past Mandanda. It was his 12th league goal of the season and leapfrogged Saint-Etienne over Lyon into third place ahead of their local derby on Sunday.

Netherlands midfielder Kevin Strootman headed Marseille ahead early on from Florian Thauvin‘s excellent cross. The defeat increases the pressure on ninth-place Marseille and its coach Rudi Garcia after a string of poor performances have left fans disgruntled and angry.

In other matches, forwards Moussa Dembele and Nabil Fekir netted late on as Lyon rallied to draw 2-2 at Toulouse.

Nimes moved into 11th spot after winning 1-0 at home to Nantes.