Tue, Feb 06, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Lyon lose to last-gasp Troyes goal

AGENCIES , PARIS

PHOTO: REUTERS

A last-gasp goal from Troyes playmaker Benjamin Nivet added to the current mini-crisis of French champions Lyon, handing the five-time league winners their third loss of the new year on Sunday.

Nivet struck three minutes into injury time amid confusion following a late corner to hand his side just their fifth win of the season and a potentially key victory as they bid to avoid the drop.

Lyon still have a comfortable 11-point margin at the top of the table ahead of Lens but are winless in their past five matches from which they have taken just two points.

When the French league took a three-week winter break, Lyon looked unstoppable, 15 points clear and having only failed to win three times in 19 league matches.

But as the champions stumble, hosts Troyes seem to have got a new lease of life, with just one loss in their last nine games.

Their success on Sunday was mostly thanks to goalkeeper Ronan Le Crom who kept out a succession of shots from Lyon, starting with an effort from Fred, making after 10 minutes, followed by decisive saves from Patrick Muller (32) and a Juninho free kick (35).

Le Crom proved solid again after the break faced with an onslaught from Juninho (56), Fred (67) and Florent Malouda (71, 90), before Nivet made the breakthrough in the last action of the game.

Olympique Marseille missed a good chance to close the gap on Lyon when they drew 1-1 with arch-rivals Paris St Germain at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday.

Djibril Cisse gave the home side the lead in the 70th minute before Pauleta earned Paris St Germain a point with a goal in the 75th.

On Saturday, goals from Eric Carriere, Seydou Keita and Issam Jemaa lifted Lens back into second place with a 3-1 win at Valenciennes as Lille were held to a goalless draw at home by Nantes.

A Carriere header after 28 minutes put Lens ahead, with Keita strengthening their grip on the game with a volley just before half-time.

Steve Savidan pulled a goal back for Valenciennes with a 61st-minute penalty before Jemaa scored four minutes into injury time.

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