French Ligue 1 leaders Bordeaux claimed a 4-1 home win over Lorient to move eight points ahead of Marseille, who drew 0-0 in Saint-Etienne on Saturday.
AFP - A double by former Manchester United striker David Bellion inspired Bordeaux to a 4-1 home win over Lorient on Saturday that stretched their lead at the top of the French first division to eight points.
Second-placed Marseille could have cut the gap to six points but they were held to a 0-0 draw at Saint-Etienne in the late game despite the hosts having to play with 10 men for over 80 minutes.
Greek defender Efstathios Tavlaridis was dismissed in the eighth minute for a last-man foul on Bakary Kone but a bravura performance from goalkeeper Jeremie Janot enabled Les Verts to earn a point that takes them out of the relegation zone.
Marseille were ultimately indebted to their France international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, who produced a superb save to deny Blaise Matuidi late on.
Didier Deschamps's side are now eight points behind the leaders but both they and third-placed Montpellier, two points behind Marseille, have a game in hand.
Having weathered early pressure from the visitors, Bordeaux took a 12th-minute lead over Lorient when Bellion ran onto Yoann Gourcuff's through-ball before finishing between the legs of Fabien Audard.
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc shuffled his pack after the 1-0 mid-week win at Montpellier and his second-choice strikers combined for a second goal when Fernando Cavenaghi's flick-on was converted by Bellion, before Cavenaghi slotted home from Gourcuff's cutback in the 52nd minute.
Gourcuff, France's player of the year, added his name to the scoresheet with 15 minutes to play as the champions made sure that they will head into the winter break -- which starts on Christmas Eve -- at the top of the division.
Lorient top scorer Kevin Gameiro, left out of the starting line-up, rewarded the travelling fans with a late consolation goal as Bordeaux's defence was breached for the first time in 710 minutes of football.
"Tonight, our evaluation is very positive," said Blanc, whose side have now won seven consecutive games in all competitions.
"Bordeaux can draw upon a big squad. Everyone is capable of proving that they deserve to play. There's healthy competition in the squad, everyone wants to play."
Montpellier's week went from bad to worse as they went down 2-0 at home to Nancy but maintained their hold on third place.
The newly promoted side had not been beaten at the Stade de la Mosson prior to their defeat by Bordeaux but goals from Djamel Bakar and Pascal Berenguer consigned Rene Girard's charges to their second home loss in three days.
Paris Saint-Germain's indifferent form continued with a 1-0 defeat at Rennes, who prevailed via a goal by Guinean forward Ismael Bangoura five minutes before the interval that sent his side fourth.
"Paris want to play at the top of the table, but we showed that we have these qualities too," said Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti.
Luckless bottom side Grenoble were denied only their second win of the season by an 84th-minute goal from Nice's Chaouki Ben Saada, which cancelled out Nicolas Dieuze's 75th-minute opener for the hosts.
Lens' trip to Valenciennes ended goalless, while Boulogne's home game with Sochaux was postponed after heavy snow posed a safety risk to spectators.
In Sunday's matches, Auxerre host Toulouse, free-scoring Lille take on struggling Le Mans and fifth-placed Lyon travel south to face Monaco.
Date created : 2009-12-19