Lille and Lyon drop points in Ligue 1

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Reigning champions Lille and fellow title hopefuls Lyon lost ground in the French Ligue 1 race on Friday as both endured frustration – Lyon bowing 2-1 at home to Rennes while Lille drew 0-0 at Toulouse after Moussa Sow missed a penalty.

The outcomes were a boon to pacesetters Paris Saint Germain, who can rest up Saturday in the knowledge they should bank three home points on Sunday at home to third-bottom Nancy at the Parc des Princes.

PSG have 30 points from their 13 matches as they target a first Ligue 1 crown since 1994 while Montpellier, who host Marseille on Saturday, are three points further back.

Lille are five points off the pace after their seventh draw of a campaign which has seen Rudi Garcia’s side struggle to show the killer instinct.

“It’s a good away point,” Garcia insisted nonetheless after some recent poor performances by his men, who travel to CSKA Moscow in midweek for a make or break Champions League pool tussle with just two points on the board after four matches.

“Today against Toulouse we saw a team once again sure of its game. It was encouraging to see how they did carve out chances.”

Sow, last year’s league top hotshot, saw a spotkick saved by keeper Ali Ahamada after Daniel Braaten had fouled Franck Beria.

Lille’s on-loan England midfielder Joe Cole missed a gilt-edged chance for his part before giving way to rising star Eden Hazard on the hour.

Toulouse were worth their point for a battling showing which has the southwesterners perched in the top six with ambitions of their own for landing a coveted Champions League slot.

Lyon, who won seven titles in a row from their maiden triumph in 2002 but who have lost momentum since, allowed Rennes to move two points clear of them and join Lille on 25 points after a demoralising loss at the Stade Gerland which made it three defeats in a row for the hosts in all competitions as they dropped out of the top four.

Lyon should have seen it coming as Rennes had not lost on any of their seven previous visits.

It was the worst possible preparation for next week’s Champions League crunch match against Ajax, who have a three-point advantage in their Group D pool with second place behind Real Madrid up for grabs.

Brazilian Honorato Ederson deflected home a Kim Kallstrom effort from a Yoann Gourcuff in the 37th minute as Lyon drew first blood but Jonathan Pitroipa, set up by Julien Feret, levelled almost straight from the restart.

Jires Kembo Ekoko then took a pass from Yann M’Vila, who dispossessed a dreaming Kallstrom after 53 minutes to fire home what proved the winner.

Victor Hugo Montano’s header against the post might have increased the margin while Pitroipa also went close again but Rennes were in any case worth their three points.

Bafetimbi Gomis did have a header cleared off the line in the opening stages and had that one gone in the outcome might have been different. A further stroke of ill-luck for Lyon saw Anthony Reveillere hit the post late in the opening period.

Lyon coach Remi Garde was frustrated afterwards.

“I draw a negative conclusion. I am more worried by the way we are playing than the gap on the top of the table,” he conceded.

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