Auxerre suffered their first defeat in eight Ligue 1 matches against Paris Saint Germain (1-0), to leave Bordeaux and Lyon vying for first place on Sunday.
AFP - French league leaders Auxerre fell to a 1-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, while Grenoble were denied a first victory of the season by a dramatic late goal in their match at Lorient.
Auxerre went into the game at the Parc des Princes on the back of a seven-match winning run that has catapulted them to the league summit and they were looking to open up a four-point lead over champions Bordeaux and Lyon.
Daniel Niculae spurned two chances to give Jean Fernandez's side the lead, being denied by goalkeeper Gregory Coupet and then thwarted by defender Sylvain Armand after Roy Contout had teed him up right in front of goal.
The home side stepped up a gear in the second half and they secured the decisive goal in the 67th minute following a lovely move, with Stephane Sessegnon freeing right-back Ceara for a cross that Jeremy Clement converted with a strong header.
Lorient took the lead in fortuitous circumstances against rock-bottom Grenoble, when Marama Vahirua's free-kick ballooned off visiting goalkeeper Ronan Le Crom and was directed into the net for an own goal by Bostjan Cesar.
Grenoble fought back in the second period, with Japanese forward Daisuke Matsui equalising and midfielder Jimmy Juan poking the visitors into the lead after Lorient goalkeeper Lionel Cappone fumbled a high ball.
Victory was in sight for Mecha Bazdarevic's charges, only for Lorient to snatch an equaliser in the second minute of injury time when Kevin Gameiro capitalised on an error from Le Crom to slam home.
The point moves Lorient up to second place, above Bordeaux and Lyon on goal difference and a point behind Auxerre, while luckless Grenoble are now 10 points from safety.
Valenciennes fell to their first defeat in six matches when they went down 4-0 at Lille.
Pierre-Alain Frau headed the hosts in front three minutes before half-time, with summer signing Gervinho contributing a well-taken brace in the second half and Yohan Cabaye capping a fine win from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.
Elsewhere, Toulouse moved into the top half with a 1-0 victory over Boulogne and Nice's four-game winning run ended with a 1-0 loss at Sochaux.
Monaco's home game with Montpellier was postponed due to an outbreak of the H1N1 virus at the visiting club.
Marseille can move level on 25 points with Lorient, Bordeaux and Lyon when they travel to Lens in Saturday's late game.
In Sunday's matches, Bordeaux visit Nancy, Lyon host Rennes and fourth-bottom Saint-Etienne travel to second-bottom Le Mans.
Date created : 2009-11-28