Ligue 1 round-up

Marseille close gap, Lyon hammered

May 11, 2011

Marseille did their best to keep the Ligue 1 title race alive with a 3-0 thrashing of Brest.

Marseille
GettyImagesMarseille celebrate closing the gap on Lille.

• Lille extend advantage at top

Loic Remy opened the scoring in the 12th minute and second-half strikes from Jordan Ayew and Gabriel Heinze saw the defending champions close the gap on leaders Lille to four points with three games to go.

Ten-man Lyon saw any lingering title hopes stamped out in emphatic fashion as they were thrashed 4-0 at Auxerre.

Beginning the day 10 points behind leaders Lille with four games to play, things were looking bleak at half-time as goals from Defurthernnis Oliech and Alain Traore, sandwiching Dejan Lovren's red card, put the hosts in control.

Traore netted again five minutes after the break before Cedric Hengbart added a fourth to put further pressure on Lyon boss Claude Puel, whose future has already been the subject of intense speculation.

For Auxerre the win was a giant step towards safety as they pulled six points clear of the drop zone with three games remaining, but it left Lyon facing a battle even to get into the Champions League, with only a one-point over fourth-placed Paris St Germain.

Montpellier put a huge dent in Lorient's hopes of European football as they ended the visitors' 11-match unbeaten run with a 3-1 win.

Lorient scored first through Bruno Ecuele Manga's header, but the hosts quickly equalised with an Olivier Giroud half-volley. Marco Estrada then put them ahead early in the second half before Jamel Saihi's outstanding volley settled matters with 25 minutes left. The defeat ends Lorient's faint hopes of Champions League football and leaves them four points adrift of sixth place and a Europa League spot with three games to go.

Monaco suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat against Sochaux as they slipped further into the relegation scrap at the foot of the table.

The seven-time champions were soundly beaten and now occupy 17th place in the table, only one point and only place above the relegation zone. Two goals in two minutes during the first half - from David Sauget and Modibo Maiga - set the tone for Sochaux who further improved their chances of a top-six finish with their 15th home win of the campaign, with Ryad Boudebouz adding the third late on.

Caen came from behind as a goal from teenager Mbaye Niang earned them a 1-1 draw at Rennes to pick up what could prove to be a vital point in their bid to avoid relegation.

With the hosts chasing Paris Saint-Germain for an automatic Europa League place, Caen had to show determination to take a share of the spoils after they fell behind just before half-time to a Kader Mangane goal.

Niang's strike came only five minutes after he had been introduced from the bench and it was enough to see them leapfrog Monaco into 16th place, although they remain only two points clear of the relegation zone.

Nice boosted their survival hopes by picking up three hard-earned points in a 3-2 win against relegated Arles.

Danijel Ljuboja put the hosts ahead in the 31st minute only for Remy Cabella's deflected effort to get the visitors back on level terms before the break. However, second-half strikes from Francois Clerc and Ljuboja again put Nice in the ascendancy before Kaba Diawara reduced the deficit in stoppage time. The result moved Les Aiglons four points clear of the drop zone with three games remaining.

Lens gave themselves a glimmer of hope in their survival fight thanks to Adil Hermach's late 1-0 winner against Bordeaux.

Laszlo Boloni's side have just three games to make up a six-point deficit and retain their top-flight status but Hermach's free-kick four minutes from time has given them faint hopes of survival. The hosts were also indebted to goalkeeper Hamdi Kasraoui who saved Anthony Modeste's penalty eight minutes earlier.

Toulouse and Valenciennes shared the spoils in a low-key 0-0 clash at the Stadium Municipal. With Toulouse effectively safe and Valenciennes gradually easing their way clear of the relegation pack, there was no need for major drama in the south of France.