After a couple of mostly disappointing days for French clubs in Europe, Bordeaux did their bit to restore some Gallic pride, and in the process help France to leap-frog Portugal in the UEFA co-efficient rankings, with a 4-0 demolition of Club Brugge at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
For their first proper European match since losing to Lyon in the Champions League quarter final two years ago, Francis Gillot fielded a strong Bordeaux side, indicating that les Girondins are prepared to take the tournament seriously. Cheick Diabaté and Yoan Gouffran lined up at the head of 4-1-3-2 formation, with a diamond midfield made up of Ludovic Sané in the holding role, behind Jaroslav Plasil and Henri Saivet, with Jussiê behind the front two.
And, under the watchful eye of France legend Jean-Pierre Papin, who played for both teams at opposite ends of his career, Bordeaux quickly took control. The impressive Diabaté had already headed wide and Brugge goalkeeper Jorgacevic had already saved well from Plasil, Diabaté and Gouffran, when the home side took the lead, Sané slotting home after some pinball in the box from a Plasil corner. A quarter of an hour later that lead was doubled: a minute after Diabaté should have scored with another header, his persistence following a searching Plasil through-ball finally allowed him to squeeze the ball to Gouffran, who passed the ball into an empty net.
The score remained 2-0 until half time and any lingering hopes that the Belgians may have had of coming back into the match were gone within 90 seconds of the restart, luckless 18 year old substitute Bjorn Engels putting into his own net from a cross by left back (more a left winger for the evening) Benoit Tremoulinas. Not to be outdone, right back Mariano also claimed an assist, his excellent cross just after the hour mark met on the penalty spot by Jussiê, who headed home expertly to make it 4-0. With the result beyond doubt, Gillot could make early substitutions, including giving a debut to young forward Hadi Sacko.
The Bordelais’ dominance was summed up by the fact that Club Brugge had their first chance of any note in the 92nd minute, a free kick from Lestienne hitting the post. In truth, if it wasn’t for Jorgacevic’s heroics in the visitors’ goal, the score could have been far more emphatic.
The result allows Bordeaux to continue a couple of impressive records: they are now unbeaten in 15 matches in all competitions, and in their last 10 home European ties. The victory also sees them sit top of their Europa League group after Newcastle’s draw with Maritimo, pending a tantalising visit to St James’ Park (or whatever it’s called now) on 4 October. Newcastle away will certainly provide a stiffer test than tonight’s anaemic Belgians, and will give a better indication of the Girondins’ potential this season.
Report by Jeremy Smith @jeremysmith98