Misfiring Lyon moved down to fourth as the dominant force of the past decade drew 1-1 at Monaco on Sunday. Lille now take third position in the standings thanks to a fifth straight win.
AFP - Misfiring Lyon extended their run of indifferent form with a 1-1 draw at Monaco on Sunday that leaves them in fourth place in the French top flight, 10 points behind league leaders Bordeaux.
The dominant force of the past decade, Lyon have now won just once in their last seven league matches and their title challenge appears to be fading by the week.
Michel Bastos fired Lyon into a 22nd-minute lead with a sublime 30-yard free-kick that zipped into the bottom-left corner but Monaco drew level 11 minutes before half-time following an error from Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The France international raced from his line in an attempt to field a deep free-kick but Monaco left-back Djimi Traore beat him to the ball, flicking it back over his head into the penalty area where Park Chu-Young volleyed into the unguarded net.
Monaco exerted sustained pressure in the second half, with 20-year-old French winger Yohan Mollo going close on three occasions, but their only reward was a point that maintains their hold on 12th place.
Earlier, Lille's phenomenal run of form continued as they beat third-bottom Le Mans 3-0 to secure their fifth straight win.
The northern club had scored four goals in each of their four previous league wins, while also qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League, and prevailed through goals from Aurelien Chedjou, Gervinho and Eden Hazard.
Chedjou headed Lille in front from Hazard's 12th-minute free-kick and they could afford the luxury of a missed Florent Balmont penalty before Gervinho finished a slick move to put the hosts 2-0 up on 27 minutes.
Hazard, the 18-year-old Belgian international midfielder, stretched Lille's advantage barely two minutes later when he ran from the centre circle before beating visiting goalkeeper Didier Ovono.
"We played a really great game," said Balmont, who thumped his spotkick against the crossbar with his side leading by a goal.
"We had a difficult start to the season but we've got back to work. We've grown in confidence and we're on a really good run, but we have to finish well at Nancy (in their last match before the winter break)."
Victory takes Rudi Garcia's side, who will meet Fenerbahce in the Europa League knockout stage, up to third place, nine points behind leaders Bordeaux.
In the day's other match, Auxerre rescued a 1-1 draw at home to Toulouse thanks to a last-minute equaliser from Roy Contout.
Toulouse went ahead in the 21st minute when Brazilian midfielder Michel Luan scored on his first top-flight start, but away skipper Etienne Didot was sent off in the 87th minute for accumulating two yellow cards before Contout converted Daniel Niculae's flick-on with a right-footed finish.
Auxerre climb to seventh while Toulouse, who were eliminated from the Europa League following a 1-0 group-stage defeat at Belgians Club Brugge on Thursday, slip to 13th.
Defending champions Bordeaux pulled clear at the top of the division after cruising to a 4-1 victory at home to Lorient on Saturday, with striker David Bellion twice on target and Yoann Gourcuff in typically influential mood.
Marseille could have closed to within six points of the leaders but they were held to a 0-0 draw at Saint-Etienne despite the home side having to play with 10 men for over 80 minutes after the eighth-minute dismissal of Greek defender Efstathios Tavlaridis.
Date created : 2009-12-21