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Lyon keep rivals at bay

Latest update : 2008-03-31

A 2-1 win at Valenciennes helped France's Ligue 1 leader Lyon restore its nine-point lead over Bordeaux, who earlier secured a controversial win against third-place Nancy. Meanwhile, follower Marseille edged closer with a 2-1 win at Lorient.

Lyon eased closer to a seventh successive French league title with a 2-1 win at Valenciennes on Sunday but Paris Saint Germain's League Cup party was transformed into a thumping relegation headache.
  
International striker Sidney Govou scored his seventh goal of the league campaign in the 65th minute to secure the victory for Lyon which gives Alain Perrin's side a nine-point lead with just seven games left.
  
Govou fired home a cross from the impressive Abdul Kader Keita past Valenciennes goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau to grab a rare share of the attacking headlines usually dominated by Karim Benzema who was injured for the game.
  
Keita had given Lyon an eighth-minute lead when he drove past Penneteau from a pinpoint cross from Francois Clerc.
  
However Valenciennes, who defeated second-placed Bordeaux last weekend, were deservedly level after 27 minutes when Eric Chelle headed home.
  
PSG, who clinched the League Cup with a last-minute penalty win over Lens on Saturday, came back to earth with a bump when fellow strugglers Toulouse beat rock-bottom Metz 2-0 to push the capital club into second from bottom spot.
  
Achille Emana scored twice in the last ten minutes to give Toulouse the three points which lifted them above PSG and into third from bottom place.
  
On Saturday, Argentinian striker Fernando Cavenaghi scored twice as Bordeaux battled back from a goal down to beat nine-man Nancy 2-1.
  
The victory kept Bordeaux in second place in the table, six points ahead of Nancy, and boosted their hopes of Champions League football next season.
  
Nancy haven't won at Bordeaux since 1996 but they were ahead on Saturday on the half-hour mark when Moncef Zerka scored following a corner from Benjamin Gavanon.
  
Cavenaghi, who had started the day with 10 goals to his name this season, levelled on 53 minutes when Fernando Wendel's corner was met by Souleymane Diawara.
  
The Argentinian was quickest to the pass and scored with a diving header despite the close attentions of Andre Luiz. Nancy then had Jonathan Brisan sent off for a foul on Mathieu Chalme.
  
Cavenaghi wrapped up the three points from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute.
  
Chris Malonga was penalised for a foul on Johan Micoud and Cavenaghi coolly slotted the ball past Nancy goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano.
  
Nancy finished the match with nine men after Frederic Biancalani was sent-off for a second bookable offence in the closing moments.
  
"Things went our way tonight, but that's not always the case," said Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc. "I understand that Nancy aren't happy with the referee. They lost the match and lost two players. It was a very bad evening for them."
  
Nancy coach Pablo Correa was furious with losing two men.
  
"Do I feel a sense of injustice? There are children listening so I can't tell you what I think. I haven't seen the penalty decision. I don't want to see it.
  
"Some days it goes for you, some days it does not. But the championship is a long way from being over. There are seven more games to go. I told the players to stay calm and concentrate."
  
Fourth-placed Marseille travel to Lorient later Sunday eager to nail down a qualifying spot for European football next season.
  

Date created : 2008-03-30

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