Struggling trio secure crucial successes

Fallen French giants Lyon put last week's derby defeat behind them and edged out of the relegation zone by prevailing in a five-goal thriller with Nancy.

Les Gones are flying high in the UEFA Champions League afer a midweek reverse of Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel left them top of their group and on target to make the knockout phase. But it has been a markedly different story on the home front, with Claude Puel's side in the uncustomary position of having only two teams below them heading into this weekend.

So it was a case of smiles all round as a first-half goal from Argentina striker Lisandro Lopez and Jimmy Briand's second-half double secured a 3-2 win over their fellow strugglers. Nancy made Lyon fight for the three points though, as they twice came back to draw level with their goals coming from Andre Luiz and Julien Feret. The victory, only their second of the campaign, lifted the seven-time Ligue 1 champions out of the drop zone, albeit only just.

One of the few sides that have endured more misery than Lyon this term has been promoted Arles-Avignon, who gave their new coach Faruk Hadzibegic no illusions as to the task he faces to keep them in the top flight after a 4-0 home crushing by Auxerre. AJA, who had made Real Madrid fight for a 1-0 Champions League success on Tuesday, coasted to what was only their first win of the season with Alain Traore and captain Benoit Pedretti putting them two goals up before the break, and Roy Contout and Valter Birsa completing the rout.

Bordeaux's season, while not as wretched as Lyon's, has hardly been one of unfulfilled joy either, and so their 1-0 win over Lorient will have been warmly received. It was earned with the goal of the day, an audacious 30-metre lob from defender Mixhael Ciani which just ducked under the crossbar.

In today's other games, Sochaux jumped to fifth with a 3-0 defeat of Lens. One point ahead in fourth are Brest, who are flying high thanks to a 1-0 victory at Monaco.