Football: French League roundup

25th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 24, 2007 (AFP) - Marseille moved up to second in the French league after a 3-1 win over Auxerre on Wednesday.

PARIS, Jan 24, 2007 (AFP) - Marseille moved up to second in the French league after a 3-1 win over Auxerre on Wednesday.

But in the north of France Paul Le Guen suffered his first defeat since taking over at Paris St Germain as Lille triumphed 1-0.

And Lyon suffered their first home defeat of the season and second league loss in a row, going down 2-1 to Bordeaux.

Former European champions Marseille have been in fine form recently and continued that as a brace from France World Cup star Frank Ribery inspired them to victory.

The match was played in an eerie atmosphere behind closed doors, a punishment for bad behaviour of a section of Marseille fans in their October trip to Nice.

A firefighter lost two fingers after picking up a firework, thrown onto the pitch from the away stand, that then exploded in his hand.

But that was all forgotten as Ribery dazzled in the first half. He opened the scoring on eight minutes and then restored the home side's lead six minutes before half-time after Ireneusz Jelen's 17th minute equaliser.

"Playing a match behind closed doors is strange but we played very well," said Ribery.

"I would have loved to have scored those two goals in front of our supporters."

Taye Taiwo made the points safe two minutes from time with the Mediterranean team's third goal.

Marseille have won four of their last five matches and leapfrogged Lens who lost 1-0 at Lorient.

Former Lyon and Rangers boss Le Guen now knows the size of the task facing him at PSG after conceding his first goal and slumping to his first reverse as manager of the fallen giants.

PSG remain in deep relegation trouble, one place off the drop zone, after Jean Makoun's near-post header 15 minutes from time earned Lille the three points.

"Tonight I felt frustration again," said Le Guen evoking memories of his brief and blighted Rangers spell.

"We really did what we had to do to stop them, we had several chances and we conceded a goal from a set-piece. There was a foul against us but the referee gave it the other way."

Le Guen had seen his team held 0-0 at home by Toulouse in his first game in charge before narrowly squeezing past second division Gueugnon in the Cup at the weekend.

This was PSG's ninth loss in 21 league matches this season and the Parisians find themselves level with third bottom Troyes, who won 1-0 over Nantes, fifth from bottom but level on 20 points with their conquerors and the Parisians.

Le Guen left Argentine playmaker Marcelo Gallardo on the bench and his side lacked creativity until the former Monaco player's second half introduction.

PSG exerted late pressure after falling behind but despite some good chances they failed to breach Lille's defences.

Czech striker Milan Baros, who earlier Wednesday had claimed he was on the verge of joining Chelsea before signing for Lyon - he said England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips's refusal to join Aston Villa in a swap deal scuppered the move - made his debut as a second half substitute for Lyon but could not inspire his new team to victory.

Pablo Francia gave Bordeaux a third-minute lead from the spot before Johan Micoud doubled the lead on 27 minutes.

Brazilian forward Fred gave Lyon a lifeline on 67 minutes and Baros could have levelled the scores with the last kick of the match but poked his hurried effort wide.

"It was a good match," said Houllier. "You have to say bravo to your opponents when you lose. We won 2-1 in Bordeaux, and we will have a great March 31 in the League Cup final (against Bordeaux).

"I didn't tell my team off. We conceded a very early goal and we complicated the task. I think the second half was very good and we deserved a draw."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News, Football 

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