LOSC Lille Metropole let slip a chance to cement their claims on Champions League soccer next season when held to a goalless draw at home by Nantes in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
The northern French side, who were assured of remaining in third place irrespective of the result, are now on 53 points, six adrift of AS Monaco, who were to play away to Olympique Lyonnais yesterday.
Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain were also to play yesterday, Laurent Blanc’s team set to host fourth-placed AS Saint-Etienne to the Parc des Princes.
Lyon and Saint-Etienne are Lille’s main rivals for Champions League qualification.
Rene Girard’s Lille were devoid of any real attacking menace and were booed by their home supporters.
“I’m disappointed,” Girard said. “We were very average. We were beaten in the one-on-ones, we lacked rhythm, it was a non-match.”
Later on Saturday, Sochaux-Montbeliard beat Lorient 2-0 in a result that confirmed their recent good form, which has seen them harvest 10 points from their past five games.
The win left them five points above the relegation zone.
Elsewhere, third-from-bottom Evian Thonon Gaillard lost 1-0 at home to Valenciennes, OGC Nice beat SC Bastia 2-0, En Avant de Guingamp defeated bottom side AC Ajaccio 2-1 and Toulouse edged Stade Rennais 3-2.
Friday’s lone fixture saw Olympique de Marseille held 1-1 at Stade de Reims in a result that did neither side’s European qualification aspirations any good.
Antoine Devaux gave the hosts the lead midway through the second period when he headed home a cross from full-back Franck Signorino.
Yet the 1993 European champions earned a deserved equalizer 10 minutes from time when France forward Andre-Pierre Gignac tapped home at the back post after Reims goalkeeper Kossi Agassa missed a cross from Rod Fanni.
“It’s no doubt the lack of clinical finishing that cost us victory,” Marseille coach Jose Anigo said.
Yesterday, PSG, having sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in midweek, were hoping to get the better of bogey team Saint-Etienne.
Blanc’s side are unbeaten in 12 league games and came into the weekend eight points clear of nearest challengers, Monaco, at the top of the table.
Les Verts, European Cup runners-up in 1976, have a good recent record against PSG, although they did squander a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in October last year and lost in extra time in Paris in the League Cup two months later.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being