Tue, Feb 04, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Nice loss leaves Lille hanging on to third spot


LOSC Lille Metropole’s Idrissa Gueye attempts an overhead-kick against OGC Nice in their Ligue 1 match at the Stade Allianz Riviera in Nice, France, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

LOSC Lille Metropole were left hanging on to a UEFA Champions League place by a single point following their 1-0 defeat at OGC Nice on Sunday.

Later, Olympique Lyonnais fell 2-0 at Stade Rennais and Olympique de Marseille were held 2-2 by Toulouse at the Stade Velodrome.

AS Saint-Etienne’s 3-0 success over struggling Valenciennes on Saturday had put the pressure on Lille, but the 2010-2011 champions failed to respond.

Former Paris Saint-Germain forward Mathieu Bodmer scored the only goal with a cute back-heel in first-half stoppage-time, although there was a suspicion of offside.

The defeat could have been worse for Lille but for Rio Mavuba clearing a Dario Cvitanich header off the line and Idrissa Gueye getting away with what appeared a blatant handball inside the Lille penalty area.

“We were inefficient, that sums up the way we played against a Nice side that appeared vulnerable,” Lille coach Rene Girard said. “They didn’t really put us in danger, but we conceded a goal at the worst moment.”

At the turn of the year, Lille were challenging the top two, Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco, but they have now dropped to 13 points off the summit after earning just two points from their past five matches.

“I don’t seen any option for us but to work, the boys are already working well, but we must be vigilant and careful,” Girard added.

Marseille remained in fifth, on 36 points, after their stalemate at home.

Twice Marseille went ahead, through goals by Dimitri Payet and Mathieu Valbuena, and twice they were pegged back.

Toulouse striker Wissam Ben Yadder leveled on 11 minutes, with Serge Aurier ensuring they went home with a point on the hour.

Lyon, who pitched up seeking a fourth straight league win, had a torrid time of it at Rennes.

They went down a man when Samuel Umtiti was shown a red card for an ill-judged tackle on Romain Alessandrini three minutes from the interval.

Rennes were already leading at that stage thanks to Cedric Hountondji’s 22nd-minute header and new signing, Swedish forward Ola Toivonen, doubled up with less than half an hour left.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get any points, but I’m not worried because I believe we deserved better,” Lyon coach Remi Garde said.

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