Football: Marseille stun Lyon to throw French title race wide open
PARIS, April 7, 2008 - Senegal international Mamadou Niang and formerLiverpool striker Djibril Cisse grabbed the goals in Marseille's 3-1 win overLyon on Sunday to throw the French title race wide open. The result left champions Lyon with a six-point lead over Bordeaux with sixgames to go and also kept Marseille on track for a place in Europe nextseason, three points behind third-placed Nancy. Victory would have given Lyon a huge helping hand in their bid for aseventh successive title but they were undone by conceding two goals in twofirst-half minutes in front of a 60,000 crowd at the Stade Velodrome. Cisse struck first in the 25th minute with a superb finish from SamiNasri's inch-perfect centre from the right. Niang then made it 2-0 hitting home a pass from Cisse beyond the reach ofGregory Coupet in goal. Marseille skipper Lorik Cana scored an own-goal on the stroke of half-time,diverting a Juninho free-kick past his own goalkeeper before Niang, with his15th league goal of the season, made sure of the three points with a53rd-minute header. "I am really proud of the team," said Marseille coach Eric Gerets. "We gave it all and everyone battled which has not always been the casethis season. We have defeated Lyon twice but I'd rather have lost twice tothem if it meant we would be champions!" Lyon defender Jean-Alain Boumsong admitted the champions had been outplayed. "We started too slowly and we were taught a lesson," he said. Paris Saint Germain slumped deeper into a survival dogfight when they lost1-0 at Nancy. The latest setback, coming just a week after Paul Le Guen's side enjoyed abrief respite from their misery by lifting the League Cup, leaves them thirdfrom bottom on 35 points with six matches left. Nancy, who hadn't defeated PSG at home since 1986, stay third, six pointsbehind Bordeaux and 12 off Lyon. Marc-Antoine Fortune grabbed the only goal of the game in the 67th minutewhen he met David Sauget's cross at the far post with a powerful drive whichPSG keeper Mickael Landreau got a hand to but could not keep out. "It's very frustrating to lose," said Le Guen whose team are one of fourlocked on 35 points. "Now it will be tough and very complicated. The fact that we played welldoesn't reassure me. We needed to get the points today. "There are six matches left and we know that every match, every point willcount." On Saturday, Bordeaux ended a controversial week on a high note when a 2-0victory over Rennes kept them on course for Europe. Bordeaux, coached by former French international and Manchester Uniteddefender Laurent Blanc, saw goals from Alou Diarra and Brazilian strikerFernando give them a victory which took them to 61 points in second place. Bordeaux entered the match under a cloud after midfielder Johan Micoud hadbeen accused of cheating by winning the controversial penalty which secured acome-from-behind 2-1 win over Nancy last week. Diarra opened the scoring in the 17th minute for Bordeaux when he fired theball past goalkeeper Patrice Luzi after Rennes had failed to clear a cornerwith Fernando heading the second eight minutes from time. At the other end of the table, a last-minute goal from Miralem Pjanicpostponed Metz's inevitable relegation for another week at least in a 1-1 drawat fellow strugglers Lens. Monaco took a step closer to safety with a 2-0 victory at second-frombottom Strasbourg while Toulouse stepped out of the relegation zone with a 0-0draw at home to Lorient.