Lyon held, Marseille close the gap

Reuters, PARIS

Tue, Mar 05, 2013 - Page 18

Olympique Lyonnais missed out on the opportunity to close the gap on Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain when they could manage only a 1-1 draw at Stade Brestois 29 on Sunday.

A Tripy Makonda own-goal canceled out Kamel Chafni’s first-half opener, but Lyon failed to break the deadlock again on a pitch resembling a Wimbledon tennis court in its second week.

The result left Lyon with 52 points from 27 games, two adrift of PSG, who lost 1-0 at 10-man Stade de Reims on Saturday.

“We would have liked to take all three points, but we were caught cold,” striker Bafetimbi Gomis told Lyon’s Web site. “However, we’re going forward and we’re getting closer to PSG.”

Olympique de Marseille reduced the gap on the leaders to five points by reclaiming third spot from AS Saint-Etienne with a 2-1 comeback win at home to ES Troyes AC.

Lyon and Marseille will meet at the Stade de Gerland next Sunday.

Andre-Pierre Gignac netted the winner for Marseille eight minutes from time when he latched on to a Pape Amodou Sougou cross.

Substitute Sougou had set up the first l’OM goal a minute earlier, perfectly crossing for Nicolas N’Koulou, who was at fault for Troyes’ opener.

Bottom side Troyes went ahead in the 70th minute after Brazilian striker Marcos had dispossessed N’Koulou, before firing a powerful cross shot past Steve Mandanda.

Troyes have 20 points and lie seven adrift of safety.

Brest went ahead in the eighth minute when Chafni found the back of the net with a low shot from just outside the box.

The midfielder was replaced by Bruno Grougi on the stroke of halftime after he picked up a thigh injury.

Lisandro Lopez came close for Lyon in the 37th minute, but Alexis Thebaut parried the Argentine’s powerful angled shot.

On a sharp counterattack, Steed Malbranque released Lisandro on the right flank and the Argentine dribbled past Thebaut, before his cross was deflected into his own net by Makonda.

Malbranque had a great chance in the 82nd minute, but his attempt was cleared off the line by Florian Lejeune.

LOSC Lille Metropole, now seventh on 43 points, revived their Europa League hopes when Salomon Kalou earned them a 2-1 home win over Girondins de Bordeaux.

Kalou, used as a lone striker at Lille, dribbled past Benoit Tremoulinas and beat Cedric Carrasso from close range in the 72nd minute after Ronny Rodelin’s fierce strike in the 59th had canceled out Jaroslav Plasil’s first-half penalty for Bordeaux.

Bordeaux lie 10th on 38 points.