Olympique Marseille missed a chance to retake second place in the French Ligue 1, after a goalless draw with Le Mans. Marseille's players were even booed after the match. Bordeaux did little better, conceding a 1-1 draw with Saint Etienne.
AFP - Marseille and Bordeaux did their French title aspirations no favours at all on Sunday as they lumbered to draws with relegation-haunted Le Mans and St Etienne.
Marseille failed to hit the target at the Stade Velodrome despite dominating possession against a Le Mans side fighting the drop, while Bordeaux thanked a last-gasp Fernando Cavenaghi goal to save their blushes at St Etienne.
Blaise Matuidi had scored with a magnificent drive eight minutes after the restart for Les Verts, but the hosts failed to climb out of the bottom three when Argentine Cavenaghi bundled home from close range following Marouane Chamakh's nod on after a corner with just seconds remaining.
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc said he had to accept that his men did not deserve to win.
"You've got to be realistic - over the match as a whole Bordeaux didn't deserve any more. We deserved the draw - though perhaps St. Etienne won't agree."
Former European champions Marseille, who moved into third place above Toulouse on goal difference, now trail Lyon by seven points with 45 points from 25 games, one ahead of Bordeaux, who stay fifth.
St Etienne remain third bottom with Valenciennes having a superior goal difference, both sides on 25 points.
Lille closed to within a single point of Bordeaux in the late match to go sixth and join the very fringe of the title race after goals from Ludovic Obraniak and Stephane Dumont saw off Monaco 2-1 in Sunday's late match, Adriano netting a comnsolation.
On Saturday, Lyon showed their rivals the way as they moved a step closer to an eighth consecutive championship success with Cris and Karim Benzema scoring in a 2-0 win at Nancy.
Lyon had enjoyed further good news after their other title rivals, Paris St Germain and Toulouse, both could only draw 0-0 - PSG at Grenoble and Toulouse at home to Valenciennes.
Lyon can therefore go into Tuesday's Champions League crunch encounter with Barcelona buoyed by their points cushion.
PSG were profligate in attack against Grenoble as they followed up their midweek UEFA Cup success over Germany's VfL Wolfsburg.
Guillaume Hoarau, two-goal star of the Wolfsburg match, looked to have left his shooting boots in the capital and even though PSG coach Paul Le Guen threw on Peguy Luyindula for the final 20 minutes as an extra striker, he likewise failed to land a knockout blow at the Stade des Alpes to end a run of four straight wins for PSG.
Grenoble could even have won it - they looked to have a valid claim for a penalty five minutes from time when Mamadou Sakho appeared to handle in the box.
So Lyon appear to be cantering to yet more domestic glory and could afford to leave France striker Benzema and Brazilian star Juninho on the bench for an hour.
Benzema did come on to score his 12th of the season in stoppage time after Cris had broken the deadlock at the Stade Marcel Picot with a close range header on 19 minutes for his first league goal of the season.
Date created : 2009-02-22