Lyon tame Le Mans for fourth successive win

December 2, 2006

PPARIS, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Runaway leaders Olympique Lyon recorded their fourth successive win on Saturday with a 1-0 away victory at Le Mans to stay 14 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 standings.

Winger Sylvain Wiltord headed home the winner following a trademark free-kick by playmaker Juninho, awkwardly cleared by Le Mans goalkeeper Yohann Pele in the 57th minute.

Racing Lens moved from third to second in the table thanks to their 3-0 defeat of Girondins Bordeaux while overnight second-placed Lille are away at Nancy on Sunday.

Five-times French champions Lyon now won 14 of their 16 league matches, losing only once this season when they were beaten 1-0 at Stade Rennes early in November. They were held 1-1 at home by Toulouse in August.

Lyon coach Gerard Houllier said his team had made a huge step toward a French record of six consecutive domestic titles.

'This success was the one of efficiency,' Houllier told reporters. 'We managed to put the match under control against a brave Le Mans side.'

Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet added: 'It's a good thing to have won tonight. All the points stored before the winter break will turn out to be an advantage next year.'

Lens bounced back from their 2-1 defeat to Serie A Parma in the UEFA Cup when they tamed in-form Bordeaux thanks to goals by Vitorino Hilton before the break and David Cousin one minute from the hour. Issam Jemaa sealed the game in the 87th.

St Etienne jumped to third place with a convincing 2-0 victory over Lorient.

Les Verts opened the scoring when midfielder Marek Heinz slotted a free-kick in the far corner five minutes into the second half.

Striker Frederic Piquionne made it 2-0 by volleying home a centre from Ilan to put the issue of the match beyond doubt in the 66th minute.

Struggling Monaco clinched a precious success as they crushed promoted Valenciennes 3-0.

Yaya Toure put the principality team in front before teenager Serge Gakpe beat goalkeeper Gregory Penneteau with a curved shot seconds from the interval.

Czech international striker Jan Koller wrapped it up thanks to a 63th-minute header.

Monaco remain 16th but are only one point back from Valenciennes and Paris St Germain who had their Sunday home match against Toulouse postponed for security reasons. A policeman killed one man and injured another while under attack from PSG fans shouting racist comments on Nov. 23.

In a bottom of the table clash, Troyes sunk 20th-placed Sedan 2-1 away.

George Ba and Gael Danic scored in the 39th and 70th respectively to give the visitors their first win at Sedan over 50 years.

Troyes are 18th while Nantes slipped to 19th after their 2-0 at Stade Rennes in the Brittany derby.