Football: Lyon shrug off European exit to close in on seventh title

10th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Lyon, knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United at Old Trafford in midweek, kept on course for a seventh straight domestic crown.

   PARIS, March 10, 2008 - Lyon, knocked out of the Champions League by
Manchester United at Old Trafford in midweek, kept on course for a seventh
straight domestic crown Sunday with a 4-2 win over main challengers Bordeaux.
   After this electric top of the table clash at the Stade Gerland, in which
eight yellow cards were dished out, Lyon extended their lead to six points
over Bordeaux.
   Alain Perrin's men saw off the visitors courtesy of a first half double
from Mathieu Bodmer with Karim Benzema and an injury time strike from Abdul
Kader Keita completing a sound night's work.
   Lyon were ahead in the 12th minute when Bodmer latched on to Fabio Grosso's
cross from the left to shoot past Bordeaux keeper Ulrich Rame.
   The Bordeaux skipper was picking the ball out of his own net for a second
time 12 minutes later when Bodmer bagged his double after splitting the
visitors' defence.
   Bordeaux pulled one back on 35 minutes when Brazilian midfielder Wendel,
fresh from this month's hat-trick against PSG, floated a freekick past an
unsuspecting Gergory Coupet.
   Lyon's third, five minutes after the break, resulted from neat work between
Brazilian midfielder Fred and Benzema, this pair running rings round the
Bordeaux defence.
   Bordeaux earned a penalty on the hour for a foul on Mathieu Chalme and
despite Coupet diving the right way and getting a touch to the ball Fernando
Cavenaghi's spot kick was too powerful to be denied.
   A wild tackle by Anthony Reveillere in the 68th minute resulted in a
wounded Wendel leaving the pitch on a stretcher.
   Then only a terrific save from Coupet kept Bordeaux drawing level from an
Alou Diarra header shortly after with Keita then slotting home a close range
shot in the fourth minute of injury time.
   Earlier Marseille maintained their impressive home record and their push
for European football next season with a 2-0 win over Saint Etienne.
   Second half goals from Mathieu Valbuena and Taye Taiwo notched up the south
coast club's eighth straight win at the Velodrome to close the gap on
third-placed Nancy to three points.
   Marseille lacked inspiration in the first half but took control when second
half substitute Valbuena exploited a breakdown in the Saint Etienne defence to
lob keeper Jody Viviani in the 59th minute.
   Seven minutes later, an unmarked Tiawo headed in Benoit Cheyrou's freekick
for his third headed goal of 2008.
   Marseille coach Eric Gerets said: "Tactically we made the difference in the
second half. This win was extremely important - if we'd lost we could forget
about finishing third."
   This game sets Marseille up nicely for Wednesday's UEFA Cup trip to Saint
Petersburg with the French side leading 3-1 after this week's first leg.
   On Saturday Nancy held on to the third spot that grants access to the
Champions League preliminary round next season beating Monaco 2-0.
   But Paris Saint Germain slumped closer to the French first division
trapdoor after a 2-0 defeat at Rennes which was so appalling that even their
own fans walked out in protest.
   The result extended PSG's winless streak to six league games and left them
fourth from bottom.
   Former Lyon and Rangers boss Paul Le Guen insisted that despite this 11th
defeat of the season he couldn't fault his players' desire.
   "It wasn't a motivational problem this evening. My players showed their
desire, but they became mentally fragile. The more this (poor spell)
continues, the more complicated it becomes. The worry becomes greater."
   PSG could have slipped into the relegation zone had Toulouse defeated
Sochaux but two first-half goals from Mevlud Erding gave Sochaux a 2-1 win
which lifted them to third from bottom but on the same number of points, 31,
as PSG.


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