Football: Struggling Lens send champions Lyon crashing
Second-half goals earned relegation-haunted Lens a 3-0 victory over six-time champions Lyon on Sunday
= PARIS, January 20, 2008 - Second-half goals from Toifilou Maoulida, Milan
Bisevac and Kader Mangane earned relegation-haunted Lens a 3-0 victory over
six-time champions Lyon on Sunday in the shock of the weekend in the French
Nice had earlier beaten Nancy 1-0 to jump a place into fourth spot but it
was the Lens victory which earned the headlines.
Maoulida had had the best chance of the match early in the first half when,
with just Gregory Coupet to beat, the Lyon goalkeeper made a good save diving
at his feet.
Midfield deadlock and moves which came to nothing characterised much of the
match till the 55th minute goal which sent Lyon on their way to just their
fifth defeat of the season after 21 matches.
A Nadir Belhadj cross found Mounir Diane but the danger was cleared before
another centre found Maoulida at the far post whose header left Coupet no
Bisevac made the game safe in the 70th minute.
A great corner from Olivier Monterrubio found Bisevac whose glancing header
easily beat Coupet.
Then Mangane added a third in the 90th minute, tapping home into an empty
Lyon still lead the table with 42 points, from second-placed Bordeaux on
39, Nancy on 36 and Nice on 35.
Nice thanked David Hellebuyck's 20-metre effort in the 69th minute for
their win over Nancy, only their third defeat of the season.
Bordeaux's 2-1 win at Le Mans on Saturday meant they had jumped into second
spot over Nancy.
Marseille beat Valenciennes 3-1 to move into the top half of the table
while a Paris Saint Germain defeat stalled their mini-revival.
PSG's fight-back to respectable levels in the French league came to a
grinding halt after a frustrating 1-0 defeat to minnows Lorient.
Winning their past two league games had helped PSG move out of the drop
zone towards mid-table, and a 4-0 French League Cup drubbing of Valenciennes
with only 10 men in midweek appeared to signal a definitive turnaround.
PSG coach Paul Le Guen admitted there was no reason to believe that PSG had
left the worst behind them.
"Before this match we'd only managed to secure two consecutive league wins
so we had no right to get carried away," said the coach.
"We were perhaps a bit tired following our efforts in midweek. At the start
of the match we just weren't in it, and we didn't pose any problems to Lorient
Meanwhile, a brace of goals from Djibril Cisse and another from Julien
Rodriguez helped Marseille earn an impressive 3-1 home victory against
Johan Audel pulled a late goal back for fifth-placed Valenciennes.
Even though Marseille lacked rhythm, Eric Gerets' team rediscovered the
form which earned them a run of seven matches without defeat at the end of
2007 which gives hope of a successful second half of the season.
Without striker Mamadou Niang, who is playing in the African Nations Cup,
Cisse impressively stepped up to the plate and, as well as scoring two goals,
contributed well in terms of his passing and adaptability in switching to the