Ligue 1: PSG breathe new life into relegation fight

April 26, 2008

PARIS, April 26 (Ligue 1) - Olympique Lyon recovered from going 2-1 down and the dismissal of Fabio Grosso to draw 2-2 at home to Caen on Saturday to edge closer to a seventh successive Ligue 1 title.

France striker Karim Benzema, the league's top scorer, made it 1-0 on 33 minutes before grabbing his 19th goal of the season with a superb free kick early in the second half.

Caen had been 2-1 up at halftime after goals by Argentine midfielder Juan Eduardo Eluchans and forward Lilian Compan.

Lyon were reduced to 10 men at the interval when Italy defender Grosso received a red card for slapping Caen forward Yoan Gouffran in the tunnel.

With three matches left Lyon have 72 points from 35 games, four points ahead of second-placed Girondins Bordeaux who drew 0-0 at home to mid-table Nice.

Amara Diane scored a brace as Paris St Germain breathed new life into their fight against relegation with a valuable win over Auxerre.

The pacy forward grabbed a goal in both halves to add to Pedro Pauleta's third-minute opener as PSG clinched only their second win since January 23.

They stay third from bottom but are now level on points with Lens and Toulouse, who both play their game in hand later on Saturday.

The defeat means Auxerre, whose goal came in the 77th minute through defender Jean-Pascal Mignot, are now only three points above the relegation zone.

Pauleta's strike, which came when he volleyed in from 15 yards after his free-kick had rebounded out to him off the wall, set PSG on their way.

And they went on to play some irresistible stuff in the first half, belying their lowly status in the table.

The lead was doubled in the 11th minute. Referee Damien Ledentu played the advantage after Clement Chantome was fouled and Diane picked up the loose ball, cut inside and drilled home a low drive from 18 yards.

Chantome, Pauleta and Bernard Mendy then had chances for PSG while at the other end, Auxerre created two clear-cut opportunities of their own.

Sammy Traore, on loan from PSG, blazed a 12-yard shot wide when completely free then Daniel Niculae pounced on a poor back-pass by Mario Yepes but curled wide with only goalkeeper Mickael Landreau to beat.

Diane wasted two one-on-ones either side of half-time as PSG looked to kill off the contest but Auxerre had the better of the game in the final half-hour.

Niculae, their top scorer, had two close-range efforts saved while Kevin Lejeune slipped when one on one with Landreau.

Mignot stooped to head home from close range with 13 minutes left to set up a grandstand finish but Diane tapped in from a similar distance after good work by substitute Younousse Sankhare to secure the win.

PSG stayed third from bottom and in the danger zone but moved level on 38 points with Racing Lens, who lost 3-2 at Le Mans with Japan midfielder Daisuke Matsui scoring twice for the hosts.