The very first edition of Ligue 1 took place 90 years ago. Since then, there have been some imperious victories, and here we look over the most notorious thrashings among the 13 games won by at least a nine-goal margin in Ligue 1.
Sochaux 12-1 Valenciennes: 25 August 1935
Olympique Lillois 10-0 Antibes: 11 November 1934
Strasbourg 10-0 Valenciennes: 24 April 1938
Le Havre 10-0 Sète: 31 January: 1954
Bordeaux 10-0 Stade Français: 4 September 1965
RC Paris 11-2 Metz: 19 November 1961
Lille 10-1 Béziers: 8 December 1957
Sochaux 9-0 SO Montpellier: 24 February 1935
Bordeaux 9-0 St Etienne: 25 November 1951
RC Paris 9-0 Le Havre: 23 August 1959
Monaco 9-0 Bordeaux: 18 January 1986
Paris Saint-Germain 9-0 Troyes: 13 March 2016
Paris Saint-Germain 9-0 Guingamp: 19 January 2019
Let’s go into a little more detail about five of those record Ligue 1 wins across the history of the competition.
Some are more ready than others at their first day of school. On the opening matchday of the 1935-36 Ligue 1 season, title holders Sochaux hosted newly-promoted side Valenciennes. Les Lionceaux had appointed André Abegglen – the top scorer of the previous league campaign – as their player-manager and the Swiss forward could not have expected a better start in his new role.
After only four minutes, he scored the first of his seven goals. Abegglen is one of only two players to score as many as seven goals in a single Ligue 1 match alongside Jean Nicolas for Rouen, also against Valenciennes, in 1938. In addition to his seven goals, wingers Leslie Miller (two) and Roger Courtois (three) joined the party to reach the never-equalled tally of 12 goals in a top-flight French match. Ignace Kowalczyk tried to save face for his side with a consolation goal, but it didn’t prevent them from suffering the largest margin of defeat ever registered in the competition (11 goals).
The French media at the time did not want to get carried away after such a result and the rest of the season proved them to be correct. A week later, Sochaux lost at Metz (the other newly-promoted side) and failed to contest for the top spots in the league.
Abegglen scored only nine goals in the rest of the 1935-36 season and was eventually replaced by his predecessor on the bench Conrad Ross at the turn of 1936, with Ross eventually bringing Sochaux another league title in 1938.
No, this wasn’t a TOP 14 fixture, we can assure you. This Ligue 1 fixture saw the football team of Stade Français suffer a 10-0 defeat at Bordeaux in September 1965.
Stade Français are now in the abyss of Paris local leagues, but they spent 15 seasons in the French top-flight between 1946 and 1967. Back in 1965, the Parisian side were struggling to avoid relegation while Bordeaux fought for the league title.
Les Girondins scored the first of their goals in the eighth minute through Hector de Bourgoing. The forward, who played for both the Argentine and French national teams across his career, was the only multiple scorer in this game, adding three goals before the full-time whistle. The other six goals were scored by six different players: Roland Guillas, Jean-Louis Leonetti, Laurent Robuschi, Karouga Keita and Guy Calléja for Bordeaux and Stade Français’ Serge Dumas, who scored in his own net. The margin could have been wider as Les Girondins hit the woodwork twice and had one goal wrongfully denied by the referee.
De Bourgoing scored 21 goals during that campaign, his best league tally in France, propelling him into the French squad for the 1966 World Cup. In that tournament, he scored one of his two goals for Les Bleus against Uruguay.
As for Bordeaux, they remain the last side to hit a double-digit figure on the scoreboard, an achievement that will feel a long way away from their current predicament as a team that have just been relegated from the top-flight.
Of the 13 matches to see a side win by at least nine goals, only one manager has achieved this feat on two occasions: Pierre Pibarot, for Racing Club de Paris in August 1959 versus Le Havre (9-0) and in November 1961 against Metz (11-2).
A goalkeeper in his playing days, there was nothing defensive about his side’s performances. During his five full seasons in charge of the Parisian side, his side scored at least 80 goals in every campaign and even scored 118 goals in the 1959-60 season – the most by a club in French top-flight history. This certainly helps you rack up huge wins.
RC Paris began the season with a 3-3 draw at Monaco, before hosting Le Havre in this match. A 9-0 victory wasn’t a bad start at home.
Thadée Cisowski – the fifth top scorer in the competition’s history with 206 goals – started gently with two goals in the first half. Things got out of hand for the HAC – known as France’s oldest football team – in the second half. Joseph Ujlaki played to the best of his ability, helping his team-mates Jean Guillot, Guy Sénac, Jean Tokpa (twice) and Cisowski (two more, making it four overall) to score before finding the net himself from the penalty spot.
Le Havre weren’t traumatised too badly by the early season defeat, finishing the season in seventh position and only seven points behind RC Paris; who finished a disappointing third place despite their record-breaking attack.
In addition to his four goals that day, Cisowski ended the campaign with 27 goals, one goal behind the top scorer of the 1959-60 season, the legendary Just Fontaine (28).
“There was a black hole.” Alain Giresse is still unable to figure out why Bordeaux collapsed at Monaco, 36 years ago. Les Girondins had won the previous two Ligue 1 titles and were third in this 1985-86 season when they travelled to the Principality. The big names of the squad were present on the pitch (Giresse, Jean Tigana and Patrick Battiston), but everything went wrong in that game.
After only 22 seconds, Felix Lacuesta found the net for Monaco. Bernard Genghini then scored the first of his four goals. Before half-time, Bordeaux thought that they’d managed to close the gap, but the referee eventually disallowed their goal due to a debatable offside call.
The worst was yet to come for Les Girondins, as Jean-Christophe Thouvenel conceded an own goal 30 seconds into the second half. Between the 52nd and the 80th minute, Monaco added six goals to reach nine and achieve what remains the largest win against a reigning French top-flight title holder.
On his bench, Bordeaux’s manager Aimé Jacquet (yes, the World Cup winner in 1998) was astonished. Behind him, the 9074 spectators of the Stade Louis II became ecstatic in a usually quiet arena.
That game was an exception in Monaco’s 1985-86 season, though. They would score only nine goals in the following 11 games of the season, while Bordeaux grabbed the Coupe de France title.
Winning by nine goals seemed impossible in the modern era of the French Ligue 1. That was until we witnessed the rise of the dominant Paris Saint-Germain and coupled it with the nightmare form of Troyes in 2015-16.
Ahead of this encounter in March 2016, PSG were 23 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after 30 matchdays, while Troyes had picked up a measly 14 points.
While some teams unexpectedly rise to the occasion of facing the Ligue 1 giants, it wasn’t the case for Troyes on this day. After 13 minutes, Edinson Cavani scored the first goal of the afternoon, benefiting from a poor pass from an opponent. Javier Pastore and Adrien Rabiot joined the party to end the first half at 3-0.
After the break, Zlatan Ibrahimovic ruthlessly added four goals to that tally, including his 100th Ligue 1 goal. An own goal followed by another Cavani strike completed that 9-0 win – the largest away win in Ligue 1 history and the largest win in the 21st century, which was equalled by PSG against Guingamp in 2019.
Troyes ended 2015-16 with 18 points, with only Lens (17) securing fewer in a 38-game Ligue 1 campaign (counting three points for a win), while PSG finished the season with 96 points – a record in the top-flight history.
This season was the end of a cycle for the Parisian side, as manager Laurent Blanc and top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic left the club during the summer.
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