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By ESPN Staff

Ligue 1: Troyes triumph over league leaders Lyon

PARIS, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon suffered a second sloppy defeat in five days when they lost 1-0 to struggling Troyes on Sunday to give their Ligue 1 title rivals some hope.

Ousted from the French Cup 2-1 by visiting Olympique Marseille in a third round match on Wednesday, the five-times champions have now lost three of their last five league games.

Gerard Houllier's side have not won a Ligue 1 match since the 4-0 thrashing of Racing Lens on Dec. 17.

Sunday's setback leaves Lyon still chasing their first league win this year and their lead at the top of the 20-club table is now down to 11 points with 15 matches remaining.

Ambitious Racing Lens moved up to second spot thanks to their convincing 3-1 win at Valenciennes on Saturday.

Olympique Marseille missed a good chance to narrow the gap when they drew 1-1 with arch-rivals Paris St Germain at the Stade Velodrome in the last game of the day.

Marseille remained fourth behind Lille who shared the points in a goalless draw with Nantes.

'There is still no reason to become alarmed,' said Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas. 'There are great matches ahead of us with the French League Cup final and the Champions League match against Roma.'

They visit the Rome club in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League knockout round match on Feb. 21 and will meet Girondins Bordeaux in the League Cup final on March 21.


'We are not going to change everything now. What I'm waiting for is the guys to be ready for the game at home against Lorient (in Ligue 1 on Saturday),' added Aulas.

'It's a tough time', said Houllier. 'But it is in such situations that you build up a great team. I'm still confident. Things will come back to normal soon.'

Troyes coach Jean-Marc Furlan said: 'This victory is just huge because we never thought we could beat them. There's such a gap between the two teams, we never thought we could close it.'

'We would have been happy with a draw but this success will do us a great deal of good. It's going to be a boost in the struggle to avoid relegation.'

Troyes got the winner four minutes into injury-time thanks to captain Benjamin Nivet who slotted home from close range to seal the outcome of a match Lyon dominated most of the time.

Troyes climbed one place to 16th in the 20-team division, three points above the relegation zone.

Goalkeeper Ronan Le Crom was a key player in Troyes's victory with a string of fine saves to deny all Lyon's efforts.

Le Crom stopped two trademark free kicks by playmaker Juninho before the break and saved a close-range header from midfielder Tiago midway through the second half.

In the dying minutes, Le Crom dived in front of teenage striker Hatem Ben Arfa after a shot from new recruit Milan Baros was deflected in the box.