Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Malouda's solitary strike moves Lyon 14 clear in France

AP , PARIS

Florent Malouda scored the only goal on Sunday to help Lyon beat visiting Auxerre 1-0 and move 14 points clear at the top of the French league.

Juninho's 25th-minute free kick was saved by goalkeeper Fabien Cool, but Malouda followed up to score. Malouda had also scored off Juninho's free kick in Tuesday's 2-2 draw at Real Madrid in the Champions League.

The win was Lyon's 13th from 15 games and moved it to 40 points, with three chasing clubs -- Lille, Lens and Sochaux -- tied with 26 points.

Auxerre pressured early and Omar Kalabane had a great chance in the 19th but missed from close range. Striker Luigi Pieroni was then tackled by defender Patrick Mueller as he prepared to shoot.

Two minutes after Lyon's opening goal, Juninho found space to hit a firm shot which had Cool beaten but bounced back off the crossbar. The Brazil midfielder also struck the crossbar with a free kick late in the match.

The five-time defending champions went close again in the 66th when Alou Diarra headed just wide from a corner, and Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet made a diving stop to keep out a drive from Kanga Akale.

Also on Sunday, Olivier Thomert helped Lens secure a 1-1 draw at Le Mans.

Thomert scored the equalizer in the 42nd minute. Ismael Bangoura had given Le Mans the lead in the 23rd with his ninth of the season -- the most in the league.

Valenciennes beat Nancy 1-0 and Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 at Nantes.

Striker Steve Savidan scored the winner for Valenciennes in the first minute with a deflected shot to move the team into 15th place.

Ivory Coast forward Bonaventure Kalou put PSG ahead with a curling shot in the second minute, but Frederic Da Rocha leveled in the 76th.

PSG striker Pauleta almost won the match in injury time, but his effort was stopped on the line by defender Kevin Das Neves.

According to French reports, the match was to be the last for PSG coach Guy Lacombe. However, club president Alain Cayzac continues to back Lacombe.

"Of course we will see him for the next match," Cayzac told French television. "My players battled well ... I am pleased with the team spirit."

Prior to the game, about 300 PSG and Nantes fans marched silently in memory of Julien Quemener, a PSG fan shot and killed on Thursday by a police officer following PSG's UEFA Cup match against Hapoel Tel Aviv.

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