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May 17, 2009

Ligue 1: Lyon humble title-chasing Marseille

A Karim Benzema double helped Olympique Lyon earn a 3-1 win at Olympique Marseille that gave Girondins Bordeaux a three-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table on Sunday.

The France forward struck twice in the first half for the visiting side, once from the penalty spot.

Marseille pushed after the interval but they could only reduce the gap to one goal through substitute Sylvain Wiltord 10 minutes from time before a Juninho free kick sealed Lyon's victory in stoppage time.

Bordeaux, who were last crowned champions 10 years ago, are on 74 points with two games left after they extended their winning streak in the league to nine games with a 3-2 home victory against Le Mans on Saturday.

Marseille trail the leaders by three points while Lyon are four points further behind and cannot win the Ligue 1 title for an eighth year in a row.

The outgoing champions tightened their grip on the last Champions League qualifying spot though as fourth-placed Paris St Germain, on 63 points, were defeated 2-1 at home by Auxerre on Saturday.

"We had a great performance tonight and it was important as we really want to qualify for the Champions League," Benzema told Canal Plus.

The Lyon striker converted from the spot at the half hour after Ederson was brought down in the area by fellow Brazilian Brandao.

He then made it 2-0 just before the break after collecting a defence-splitting pass from Jeremy Toulalan.

Marseille dominated throughout the first half but wasted many chances.

Senegalese striker Mamadou Niang hit the post with a powerful right-footed shot from just outside the area in the 16th minute before Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made two saves in a few seconds two minutes later.

Lloris first deflected a Mathieu Valbuena attempt and then stopped a feeble Brandao header.

A Benoit Cheyrou's shot also bounced off the post before the interval.

Marseille complained the referee was wrong not to whistle two penalties early in the second half when Niang twice fell down in the area after charges from Lyon defender Anthony Reveillere.

The Provence side kept on pushing but could only score once when Wiltord tapped in a Niang cross.

Juninho then put the result beyond doubt with a trademark freekick.

Nantes' hopes of escaping relegation from Ligue 1 suffered another blow when they were held 1-1 at home by Stade Rennes earlier on Sunday.

The promoted side, who have won only one of their last 14 games, remained second from bottom on 34 points, three points from safety.

Rennes are seventh on 58 points, behind Lille on goal difference after the northern side also drew 1-1 at home to ninth-placed Nice.

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