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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Ligue 1: Lyon bounce back to go six points clear

PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon bounced back from two defeats in a row with a 2-0 home win over Lorient on Wednesday that put the six-times champions six points clear at the top of Ligue 1.

Lyon, who had worried their fans last week with a 1-0 League Cup quarter-final defeat at Le Mans followed by a 3-0 league thrashing at Racing Lens, recaptured their winning ways thanks to a goal in each half from Hatem Ben Arfa and Karim Benzema.

Ben Arfa opened the scoring from 20 metres on 29 minutes and fellow 20-year-old France forward Benzema wrapped it up in the 74th, scoring his 14th league goal this season from the edge of the box.

Coach Alain Perrin's team moved to 45 points from 22 games, six ahead of second-placed Girondins Bordeaux, who were entertaining St Etienne on Wednesday.

Third-placed Nancy dropped eight points off the pace after a 1-1 home draw with Olympique Marseille.

Midfielder Jonathan Brison put Nancy ahead from a free kick early in the second half but the visitors equalised with a late volley from France playmaker Samir Nasri.

Lens had earlier moved out of relegation zone with a 2-1 win at 10-man Valenciennes after substitute Kevin Monnet-Paquet got the winner.

Forward Steve Savidan opened the scoring for the home side after 33 minutes but Lens levelled with a header from Brazilian defender Hilton just before halftime.

Valenciennes defender Guillaume Rippert was sent off in the 57th minute for blocking forward Monnet-Paquet, who scored six minutes later to wrap up the points for Lens.

Lens climb two spots to 16th in the 20-strong league, with Valenciennes, who conceded their first home defeat of the season, dropping a place to seventh.

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