Marseille fail to hammer home credentials

19th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 18, 2007 (AFP) - Lens and Marseille played out dull 0-0 draws on Sunday as defending champions Lyon emerged the biggest winners of the weekend which ended with Gerard Houllier's men enjoying a 13-point lead at the top.

PARIS, Feb 18, 2007 (AFP) - Lens and Marseille played out dull 0-0 draws on Sunday as defending champions Lyon emerged the biggest winners of the weekend which ended with Gerard Houllier's men enjoying a 13-point lead at the top.

Lens stay second after their goalless trip to Monaco while Marseille stay fifth, 19 points off the pace, after failing to find a way past their former goalkeeper Fabien Barthez who guaranteed a point for Nantes.

Barthez pulled off a string of fine saves to help new co-managers Japhet N'Doram and Michel Der Zakarian, who took over from the sacked Georges Eo, avoid a losing start to their reign.

Lens coach Francis Gillot said he was content with a point after his side had battled to a 3-1 UEFA Cup win over Panathinaikos on Thursday.

"We perhaps had the best chances. It was a good point for us," said Gillot who made seven changes to the team which faced the Greeks.

N'Doram paid tribute to Barthez after the stalemate at Stade Velodrome.

"We took a point and that was thanks to Fabien Barthez," said the co-manager.

"You can see the hard work he does all week. He was very motivated to come here and has brought a spark to the squad."

The headline match was on Friday when Brazilian international striker Fred inspired champions Lyon to a come from behind 2-1 victory at Lille to give them a much needed boost ahead of their Champions League clash with  Roma on Wednesday.

For Lille - who were watched by Sir Alex Ferguson manager of their Champions League opponents Manchester United - it was a bitter disappointment leaving them trailing Lyon by 18 points.

Houllier commiserated with Lille over their late late disappointment.

"It is always dreadful to lose to a late goal and that happened to us recently," admitted the former France and Liverpool handler.

"However, for us, it is a vital win as we did not have a great January but now we have won two in a row and tonight was a gutsy win."

Paris Saint Germain followed up their midweek UEFA Cup heroics against AEK Athens in the best possible way with a 3-0 win over 10-man Nancy on Saturday.

PSG teed themselves up for Thursday's return leg visit by the Greeks with an important domestic victory which will have boosted their hopes of pulling clear of the relegation zone.

Paul Le Guen's men climbed one place to sixth from the foot, two points above the drop zone, with the win kicked off by captain Pedro Pauleta's 71st minute penalty awarded after Frederic Biancalani's dubious handball.

Nancy keeper Damien Fregorini saved Pauleta's first strike but Pierre-Alain Frau picked-up the rebound and passed to Pauleta who made no mistake at the second attempt.

This was compensation for the Portuguese international who had a goal disallowed on the quarter of an hour mark for off-side but it so incensed Nancy manager Pablo Correa he was expelled from the dug out.

Frau added a second with five minutes on the clock before Marcelo Gallardo, who had set up that goal, rounding off an excellent night's work for the capital side with a third with one minute on the clock.

Nancy were reduced to 10 men after Brazilian striker Kim was given his marching orders in the 77th minute for a second yellow card.

Up at the top of the table Sochaux moved up to fourth, level on 39 points with Lille, after a 2-0 win over Le Mans.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article