Don't miss




'Maduro's regime is a criminal dictatorship'

Read more


Kenyan authorities step up security amid Al-Shabaab threat

Read more


Rock icons Midnight Oil on politics, passion and their long-awaited comeback

Read more


'Sleep tight beautiful boy': Charlie Gard's parents to take him off life support

Read more


South Africa's 'Guptaleaks': New website aims to reveal extent of 'state capture'

Read more


Building walls: French protesters block access to hotel migrant shelter

Read more


Google parent company's profits hit by EU fine

Read more


Phelps flops in man v shark challenge

Read more


Jerusalem Crisis: Who will play the peacemaker?

Read more


Marseille move ever closer to French league title

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-26

A nervous 1-0 home victory against struggling Saint-Etienne Sunday was enough for Marseille to maintain a five-point lead over second-placed Auxerre, who clinched a convincing 3-0 win Toulouse.

AFP - Classy midfielder Mathieu Valbuena kept Marseille's French title ambitions on track on Sunday with the only goal at the Stade Velodrome against strugglers St Etienne.
Valbuena's sixth-minute strike after good work by Brandao was enough to lift Marseille onto 71 points from 34 games for a seventh straight success.
With just four games remaining they stand five points clear of Auxerre, who swept to a 3-0 win at Toulouse.
Marseille's last title came in 1992 - a year before they became the only French team to lift the European Cup and prior to a match-fixing scandal which saw them relegated as punishment.
Now coached by French 1998 World-Cup winning skipper Didier Deschamps the Mediterranean club are making the most of some surprising slips by their rivals.
Reigning champions Bordeaux have slumped in recent weeks - Saturday's loss to Lorient left Laurent Blanc's side in sixth place, 11 points off the pace, two behind Champions League semi-finalists Lyon - allowing both Marseille and Auxerre to steal a march on them.
Lyon were not in action at the weekend as they prepare to overcome a 1-0 deficit in their Champions League semi-final return against Bayern Munich.
Jean Fernandez's Auxerre have won eight and drawn three of their last 11 outings and Sunday's success over Toulouse was the perfect way to prepare for showdown with the leaders next week.
Auxerre, who won the domestic double in 1996 under former coach Guy Roux, have just that one title to their name to date.
But in casting aside Toulouse with Benoit Pedretti's freekick two minutes after the restart and then a double from Polish striker Ireneusz Jelen they showed they are not to be taken lightly.
Yet defender Adama Coulibaly said the club would have to work furiously if they are to overhaul Marseille.
"Marseille will be a tough match - but there are four games to go and we'll take them one at a time. People aren't talking about us much and that will help us."
Bordeaux's loss to Lorient - their fourth in five games - meanwhile had Blanc lamenting that luck appears to have deserted his side, whose recent slump coincided with their European exit to Lyon in the Champions League quarters.
"We lacked a little bit of luck, in the first half notably," said Blanc. "But nothing's going right for us now."
Lille have a whiff of a shot at the Champions League, meanwhile, after moving into third place after a 2-1 win Saturday at third-bottom Le Mans.
French Cup finalists Paris Saint-Germain are still on the road to nowhere in the league at least after a 1-1 home draw with Rennes at the Parc des Princes left them 10th.
In Sunday's other early game, Lens, champions in 1998, are all but safe after a 1-1 draw with Valenciennes which left the "blood and gold" 12 points clear of the drop zone with Le Mans and Boulogne looking odds-on to join Grenoble in falling through the trap door.

Date created : 2010-04-26