Lyon snatch point in dramatic late comeback

26th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 24, 2007 (AFP) - Champions Lyon scored two last-minute goals to snatch a point at home to Sochaux on Saturday, denying their visitors a place in the French league's top three.

PARIS, Feb 24, 2007 (AFP) - Champions Lyon scored two last-minute goals to snatch a point at home to Sochaux on Saturday, denying their visitors a place in the French league's top three.

Sochaux took a 2-0 lead in the first half through goals from Alvaro Santos and a Karim Ziani penalty before the half-hour mark.

Lyon's Czech striker Milan Baros reduced the arrears just before the break but when Sebastien Grax restored the visitors' two-goal advantage four minutes from time, the game seemed to be over.

But a Sylvain Wiltord strike in the last minute followed by Brazil midfielder Juninho's stoppage-time penalty rescued a point for the five-in-a-row champions and stretched their lead at the top to 14 points.

Toulouse took over third place after drubbing Marseille 3-0 at home.

A Johan Elmander double and a third from Achille Emana proved Marseille's undoing as they dropped from fifth to sixth in the table.

Toulouse have been in strong form recently, recording victories over Lyon and Champions League outfit Lille since the turn of the year.

They have actually been the best side in the league since January 1 but coach Eli Baup was not getting carried away.

"We managed to score with every chance we had and it was a flattering result," he admitted.

Match-winner Elmander was less reserved.

"It was a stunning performance, one of the best matches we've played," he said.

"Marseille are a great team with great players but today, we all played at 100 percent and that's what made the difference."

After Marseille's on-loan Liverpool forward Djibril Cisse had forced Toulouse goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez into a sprawling save, Elmander almost opened the scoring on 29 minutes.

The striker met a cross from Paulo Cesar with a cheeky back-heel that struck the base of Cedric Carrasso's post.

Cisse had another great chance to score on 40 minutes but this time Paulo Cesar cleared his header off the line.

But just a minute later, Toulouse were in front as Elmander outstripped the Marseille backline to run away and score.

That body blow before halftime was followed by a knock-out strike just after the break as Elmander turned Ronald Zubar and hit a cross shot into the far corner of the net for 2-0 on 48 minutes.

Marseille switched from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 as they sought to end their four-match winless streak but to no avail.

Paulo Cesar released Emana with a stunning pass and he beat Carrasso on 62 minutes to put the result beyond any doubt.

Marseille coach Albert Emon could not hide his disappointment.

"We lacked aggression and presence in the physical battles," he said. "We didn't play as a team and that's what we needed to do. I'm very sorry to all those who follow and love this club."

Relegation-threatened Nice climbed out of the drop zone and heaped more misery on Lille with a 2-1 victory at home after both sides were reduced to 10 men.

Bakari Kone scored a brace either side of Yohan Cabaye's strike for the visitors after Florent Balmont and Nicolas Plestan were both dismissed.

It completed a miserable week for Lille who dropped to fifth following the result, hot on the heels of their controversial Champions League defeat to Manchester United and subsequent failed appeal to UEFA.

Sedan remained bottom despite an impressive 2-0 win at Rennes while Fabian Barthez and Nantes stayed second from bottom after a 1-1 draw at home to Auxerre.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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