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By ESPN Staff

Ligue 1: Juninho nets free-kick from halfway line

BORDEAUX, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Leaders Olympique Lyon came from behind to grab a 3-2 home win over Nice in Ligue 1 on Saturday thanks to a controversial free kick by Juninho and a stoppage time penalty by Karim Benzema.

Second-placed Olympique Marseille earned a 1-1 draw at Girondins Bordeaux three days before both teams face English sides in the Champions League.

After five matches, Lyon have 13 points, two more than Marseille and three in front of Grenoble who drew 1-1 at Valenciennes. Fourth-placed Le Mans, who are one spot above Nice with both teams on nine points, lost 2-1 at home to Toulouse.

Nice led 2-0 after 20 minutes at Stade Gerland through goals from Habib Bamogo and Loic Remy before Juninho reduced the gap for Lyon with a trademark free kick six minutes from the break.

The Brazil midfielder equalised after 73 minutes when his free-kick from the halfway line found the net.

The referee awarded the goal although the linesman raised his flag indicating Lyon striker Frederic Piquionne was offside.

The same linesman intervened again in stoppage time when Nice defender Vincent Hognon handled in the box and Benzema converted his fifth goal in five games.


In heavy rain, a reshuffled Lyon team -- starting without returning France players Benzema, Jeremy Toulalan and Sidney Govou -- had conceded their first goal of the season after just three minutes when Bamogo scored from a counter-attack.

Former Lyon striker Remy made it 2-0 17 minutes later with a deflected shot before Juninho and Benzema snatched the win for the seven-time champions.

"We managed to stay calm while we felt Nice were getting nervous after our first goal," Juninho said.

Lyon host Fiorentina in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

Marseille, who host Liverpool on Tuesday, took a first-minute lead when Ivory Coast forward Bakary Kone netted from close range after Mamadou Niang's cross.

Morocco's Marouane Chamakh volleyed the equaliser 24 minutes later after a fine move involving Yoann Gourcuff and Geraldo Wendel.

Last year's runners-up Bordeaux, who have not lost to Marseille at home in 31 years, visit Chelsea in the Champions League also on Tuesday.

Mathieu Valbuena, who scored in Marseille's 1-0 win at Anfield last year, returned to action in the second half after missing the early stages of the season with a groin injury.

"I'm very disappointed because we deserved better. We should have scored two or three goals," Marseille coach Eric Gerets told French TV.

"Nothing is reassuring," he replied when asked if he was optimistic ahead of Tuesday's game.

South Korea's Park Chu-young scored his first goal in Ligue 1 to help Monaco secure a 2-0 win over FC Lorient.


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