Fri, Dec 14, 2012 - Page 19 News List

League 1: Les Gones frustrated by lowly Nancy

STILL TOP OF THE PILE:The leaders are three points clear at the top, while Olympique de Marseille moved level on points with archrivals second-placed Paris Saint-Germain

AFP, PARIS

AC Ajaccio’s Johan Cavalli volleys the ball against Stade de Reims in their Ligue 1 match at the Stade Francois Coty in Ajaccio, France, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Lyonnais were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to relegation candidates AS Nancy-Lorraine on Wednesday, as their lead at the top was trimmed to three points.

Nancy took a surprise second-half lead through Jordan Loties and appeared on course for their first win since the opening day of the season, before Michel Bastos spared Lyon’s blushes seven minutes from time to secure Remi Garde’s side a point.

“I don’t think it’s a setback. We wanted to win, but sometimes when you can’t, you have to know not to lose,” Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis said. “We would have liked to win against the team that was bottom, but they played a good match.”

The stalemate moved les Gones onto 35 points, three ahead of Paris Saint-Germain — who welcome the leaders to the Parc des Princes on Sunday — and Olympique de Marseille following their 2-1 victory at SC Bastia, while a fifth straight draw for Nancy saw them climb above ES Troyes AC into 19th.

Rooted to the foot of the table and without a win in 15 outings entering the clash at the Stade de Gerland, Nancy displayed plenty of attacking intent during the first half, forcing Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre to save twice from Djamel Bakar and produce an instinctive stop to claw away a Loties header.

However, Lyon should have taken the lead on 35 minutes when Gomis danced past Sebastien Puygrenier, only to see his effort well blocked after he passed up an opportunity to lay the ball off to a better-positioned Alexandre Lacazette.

Bastos then drew Nancy goalkeeper Damien Gregorini into a smart low save with his legs, while Lisandro Lopez was incensed not to be awarded a second-half penalty when his shot was deflected behind via the arm of Brazilian rightback Helder.

“We had the chance to open the scoring if a penalty had been logically awarded. I think that was the turning point of the match because when we’ve led at the [Stade de] Gerland, we have never lost. We had the chances to win and tonight we were prevented from doing so,” said an angry Garde, who was upset with referee Jean-Charles Cailleux’s performance.

Nancy continued to belie their league position as Loties had a fizzing strike palmed away by Vercoutre, before Jean Fernandez’s charges took a shock lead through the French defender on 74 minutes.

Loties was the beneficiary of Vercoutre’s inexplicable decision to launch himself feet-first at Salif Sane’s tame header, as the custodian’s attempted clearance ricocheted off the Nancy player and trickled over the line.

The visitors’ advantage lasted a mere nine minutes, though, as Bastos hauled Lyon level on 83 minutes when his long-range shot wrong-footed Gregorini after taking a wicked deflection off Puygrenier.

Elsewhere, Marseille drew level with archrivals PSG after seeing off Bastia in front of an empty Stade Armand Cesari in Corsica.

Mathieu Valbuena hooked a superb 15th-minute volley past Landry Bonnefoi, before Andre Ayew doubled Marseille’s advantage with a second-half penalty after brother Jordan was felled by the hosts’ goalkeeper.

Anthony Modeste reduced the deficit with a consolation goal eight minutes from time.

Lorient claimed a fourth win in five matches as Alain Traore and Lamine Kone were on target in a 2-0 win over Sochaux-Montbeliard.

Evian Thonon Gaillard climbed out of the relegation zone after beating fellow strugglers ES Troyes AC 2-0 thanks to a brace from Cedric Barbosa.

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