Mon, Apr 06, 2009 - Page 18 News List

LFP : Benzema twice on target as top dogs Lyon beat Le Mans

AFP , PARIS

Karim Benzema scored twice for seven-time reigning champions Lyon in a 3-1 victory at Le Mans on Saturday to boost their French title chances and ensure they finished the weekend at the top of the table.

Bordeaux, meanwhile, warned they were still up for a fight with a last-gasp 1-0 victory at home to Nancy to give them second spot thanks to Marouane Chamakh, three points behind the leaders.

Lille are also in the title hunt and their 2-0 win at Nantes left them fourth while Toulouse drew 0-0 at lowly Caen in the late match for fifth place.

Third-placed Marseille were due to travel to St Etienne yesterday without president Pape Diouf who had an emergency eye operation on Saturday.

Benzema’s 13th and 14th league goals for Lyon ended a mini-drought as he had not found the net since Feb. 21 but hapless Le Mans keeper Pele, who will be leaving the club at the end of the season, hardly gave his future employers a good impression.

Lyon boss Claude Puel, who has endured huge criticism lately, admitted afterwards: “The result was flattering.”

Former Rangers striker Jean-Claude Darcheville scored after just 26 seconds in Valenciennes’ 2-0 victory over Auxerre to register the fastest goal in the French championship this season. It beat the previous fastest goal of 52 seconds, which was scored by Thomas Kahlenberg for Auxerre against Le Havre on Feb. 21.

Another striker who has been catching the eye lately is Lille’s Michel Bastos, who scored his 13th goal of the season from the spot in their 2-0 win at Nantes.

Yesterday PSG hosted Nice hoping to keep in touch with the leading teams.

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