Football: Lyon capture winter title as Marseille held

17th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

Lyon were on Sunday awarded the honorary title of winter champions without kicking a ball in anger.

   PARIS, Dec 16, 2007 (AFP) - Lyon were on Sunday awarded the honorary title of winter
champions without kicking a ball in anger after their nearest rivals Nancy were held to a 0-0 draw at Strasbourg.

   The stalemate in Alsace left second-placed Nancy on 34 points with six-time French leaguewinners Lyon on 38 with only next week's top of the table clash to come before the winter recess.

   Marseille went into Sunday's late game against Bordeaux needing a pick-me-up after Liverpool ended their Champions League dream with a 4-0 midweek drubbing at the Velodrome.

   In the end they had to settle for a 2-2 draw which left them lying precariously only three points off the relegation zone.

   Bordeaux are in third, eight points shy of Lyon.

   Marseille got off to the perfect start, with Mamadou Niang giving them the lead in the
opening minute and Benoit Cheyrou adding a second before the half hour mark.

   Niang was instrumental in Marseille's second goal when he outwitted three Bordeaux defenders with Cheyrou's shot ricocheting off Marc Planus and past Ulrich Rame.

   But it didn't take long for Bordeaux to reduce the deficit with Marouane Chamakh getting the home side off the mark in the 33rd minute, with Jussie knocking in Wendel's 70th minute corner for the equaliser.

   On Saturday Paul Le Guen's hopes that ailing Paris Saint Germain's wretched season had turned a corner were dashed after a 2-1 home loss to Toulouse. PSG, desperate to build on last week's win over Auxerre, fell behind to a double either side of the break from Johan Elmander, with Pedro Pauleta's injury time penalty doing little to appease the frustrated Parc des Princes fans.

   This latest loss, PSG's seventh of the campaign, left the capital club back in the
relegation zone, with only Sochaux and Metz below them. Club president Alain Cayzac said that the PSG management would be holding crisis talks next week.

   Asked by Canal+ television whether Le Guen's future would be one of the subjects up for discussion Cayzac said: "We'll be looking at all the solutions to get out of this deep crisis, that means everything." He added: "This situation is hitting me hard."

   Lyon, fresh from their midweek heroics in qualifying for the Champions League last 16 with a 3-0 defeat of Rangers, found that a hard act to follow and were held to a goalless draw by Nice
at the Stade Gerland.

   Lyon can count themselves fortunate to have taken something from the game as Brazilian midfielder Ederson's 83rd minute freekick hit the crossbar with the ball rebounding off the line, to the evident relief of Vercoutre.

   "We couldn't have done more this evening," reflected Lyon coach Alain Perrin.

   "We didn't have enough gas to grab the win, players aren't robots." Highfliers Le Mans moved up a place into third after a goalless draw with Lorient put them on 30 points.

   Sochaux prevailed 2-1 in the bottom of the table dogfight with Metz, while strugglers Lille boosted their bid to stay in the top flight with a 3-0 win over Saint Etienne. Valenciennes beat Auxerre by the same margin.

   Monaco won their seventh match of the season, Jurgen Menez' second half double earning them a 2-0 success over Lens, and Caen were into sixth after beating Rennes 2-1.

   Nick Reeves


0 Comments To This Article