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Mar 22, 2009

Ligue 1: Lyon retake top spot after Sochaux win

Olympique Lyon re-established themselves as Ligue 1 leaders with a 2-0 victory at home against struggling Sochaux on Sunday.

Goals by Brazilian Ederson and substitute Anthony Mounier and a great performance by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris helped Lyon end their worst losing streak since 1991 after four consecutive defeats in all competitions.

The seven times champions lead the table on 56 points with nine games left, one ahead of Olympique Marseille, who went provisionally top with a 2-0 home win over Nantes on Saturday.

Paris St Germain were the only defeated top team this weekend as they were crushed 4-1 at Toulouse after conceding three goals in the first half on Sunday.

The capital side dropped to sixth on 52 points, behind fourth-placed Toulouse on goal difference.

"We needed that victory and the whole team rose to the challenge in difficult circumstances," Lyon coach Claude Puel told Foot Plus television channel.

Lyon not only let rivals narrow the gap in Ligue 1 but have also been knocked out of the Champions League and the French Cup in the past weeks.

Ederson put them in front early in the game on Sunday. The Brazilian forward collected a cross from Argentinian Cesar Delgado and then found the back of the net with a powerful right-footed shot from inside the box in the middle of a passive Sochaux defence in the 13th minute.

Lyon, who missed suspended Cris and injured Jean-Alain Boumsong, fielded a depleted defence with usual midfielders Mathieu Bodmer and Jeremy Toulalan pairing at centre back.

Both players were never put to the test in the first half but they struggled after the interval as Sochaux pushed harder to try to equalise.

Lyon needed two great saves by France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris on close-range shots by Turkey forward Mevlut Erding and Czech striker Vaclav Sverkos to keep their one-goal lead before Mounier doubled their advantage.

The 21-year-old winger fired home from close range after his header was saved by Sochaux goalkeeper Teddy Richert in the 70th minute.

"We were tired in the second-half and that goal was a relief. Hugo (Lloris) also did us well after the interval. We have confidence again and this is important for the end of the season," Puel said.

Sochaux stayed last above the drop zone on goal difference as third-bottom St Etienne, also on 29 points, lost 3-1 at mid-table Lorient.

At Toulouse, Paris St Germain dominated throughout the game but the home side scored three goals in as many chances in the first half.

Ligue 1 top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac, who was called up to the France squad for the first time this week, put his tally to 18 when he netted his side's second goal.

Paris only managed to break Toulouse's defence once when young centre back Larrys Mabiala tapped the ball into the net from a Jerome Rothen free kick in the second half.

Toulouse forward Daniel Braaten sealed the game on a counter-attack 10 minutes from time.

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