Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Lyon? win over Le Havre marred by racial insults

AFP , PARIS

Lyon’s Jean Makoun, right, vies for the ball with Le Havre’s Massamba Sambou during their Ligue 1 match at the Gerland Stadium in Lyon, France, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Seven-time champions Lyon romped to a 3-1 win over rock-bottom Le Havre on Sunday, but the match was marred by racial insults hurled at the home side? Ghanaian defender John Mensah.

The incident led to a Le Havre fan being arrested for making what Lyon officials described as ?acist insults?and he remained in custody overnight.

Lyon? win, achieved courtesy of goals from Ederson and Abdelkader Keita before the break and a Juninho clincher after 74 minutes, put an end to a run of four straight draws for the reigning champions at the Stade Gerland, Loic Nestor netting a consolation for a le Havre side nine points adrift of safety.

Lyon moved on to 49 points from 24 games, with Paris Saint-Germain on 45 after their 2-1 win on Saturday over St Etienne.

The outbreak of racist chanting at Lyon clearly badly affected the champions?Ghanaian defender Mensah, whose participation ended early when he was ultimately sent off 19 minutes from time after picking up two yellow cards.

The regional state prosecutor? office said the fan had been placed under arrest and interviewed, adding he would face further questioning yesterday.

Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas told reporters that visiting fans had directed racial abuse at other Lyon players as well as Mensah.

?ight from the warm-up, Le Havre fans made racist insults toward John Mensah, but also Kader Keita, Frederic Piquionne and Karim Benzema,?Aulas said. ?ohn took it very badly. It went on throughout the game and ensured he had a rebellious attitude.?br />

?oubtless, we as a club made a mistake in not passing on to the match delegates and the referee what was going on. We did make a number of stadium announcements,?said Aulas, who described the abuse as ?onkey noises.?br />

?e saw John was in great psychological difficulty after he was dismissed and that? why I left the stand to reason with him ?not as a mark of disrespect to Le Havre,?he said. ?here was really an incident to resolve.?br />

The stadium speaker announced the arrest of the fan believed to have made the insults early in the second half, before reminding spectators that making racial comments in a public place was an offense.

?ohn was very shocked,?Lyon coach Claude Puel told French television.

Puel admitted, as Aulas later implied, that ? should perhaps have withdrawn John earlier [before his second booking]. He heard scandalous words. We tried to keep him on the pitch and I thought he had perhaps got over it. But it? my fault ?I should have taken him off beforehand.?br />

In several cases those responsible were handed jail terms of several months.

Elsewhere, both Marseille and Toulouse leapfrogged Bordeaux by a point in scoring away victories on Sunday.

Baky Kone lobbed home the only goal for Marseille at Monaco with 13 minutes remaining to take the former European champions into third spot, while Andre-Pierre Gignac hit the winner for Toulouse that left Sochaux mired in the drop zone.

French Ligue 1

?/td>

Team
P
GD
PTS
1
Lyon
24
17
49
2
Paris Saint-Germain
24
10
45
3
Marseille
24
14
44
4
Toulouse
24
11
44
5
Bordeaux
24
16
43
6
Rennes
24
10
39
7
Lille
23
9
39
8
Nice
23
4
36
9
Lorient
24
2
31
10
AS Nancy
23
-3
29
11
Monaco
24
-2
28
12
Auxerre
24
-5
27
13
Grenoble
24
-8
27
14
Nantes
24
-11
27
15
Caen
23
-1
25
16
Le Mans
23
-8
25
17
St Etienne
24
-14
24
18
Valenciennes
23
-8
21
19
Sochaux
24
-8
20
20
Le Havre
24
-29
15

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