Lille set back, PSG salvage draw

Lille seriously compromised their title hopes when a 1-1 draw at Lorient left the Ligue 1 leaders with just a two point lead on second-placed Marseille, who have a game in hand.

The leaders have taken just two points from their last three games, while Marseille are powering ahead and will be boosted by retaining the French League Cup title yesterday when they host mid-table Nice on Wednesday.

Largely dominated on the Brittany side's pitch, Lille were also hampered by the absence of injured midfielder Florent Balmont. Lille, nonetheless, opened the scoring two minutes before the break when Mathieu Debuchy picked up a cross from Senegalese international Moussa Sow, only for striker Kevin Gameiro to grab the equaliser with his 18th goal of the season after 68 minutes.

Lorient, now seventh, remain unbeaten since 12 February with Christian Gourcuff's men still hoping to grab a UEFA Europa League qualifying spot.

PSG take a point
Earlier Paris Saint-Germain lost ground in the title race when a 2-2 draw at Brest left the capital club seven points adrift of Lille.

PSG should have closed the gap to a more manageable five points, but after Mathieu Bodmer had given Antoine Kombouare's men a 20th-minute lead, fortune refused to smile on the visitors, who were ultimately fortunate to rescue a point.

In a frantic end to the opening period Brest, who have fallen away badly after a bright first half of the campaign, turned things around when Guinean Larsen Toure levelled in the 27th minute, before Bruno Grougi put them into the lead in first-half stoppage time.

By then, PSG had suffered the loss of veteran goalkeeper Gregory Coupet, who had to go off with a back injury. On came Apoula Edel, who promptly conceded by fouling Toure, but then saved a penalty.

Unfortunately for Edel, although he beat out Grougi's kick, Toure knocked in the rebound. Grougi had a smile back on his face after firing in the second following a Toure cross from the right.

Just as it seemed that PSG had nothing left to offer, they clawed their way back with three minutes left, Ahmed Kantari putting through his own net under pressure from the marauding Guillaume Hoarau.

The draw enabled Lyon to stay third ahead of PSG on goal difference ahead of their game against Montpellier on Wednesday.

Bordeaux surpass Saint-Etienne
Bordeaux thanked goals from Jaroslav Plasil and Cheikh Diabate to see off Saint-Etienne as the Girondins leapfrogged Les Verts into sixth place, though both have nine points to make up on Lyon and PSG and are unlikely to book UEFA Champions League slots.

At the wrong end of the table, Georgie Welcome netted within three minutes of coming on for Benjamin Bile to give Monaco a precious 1-0 win over Rennes, a now fading fifth and two points behind PSG.

"That's a real boost to win this one," said Monaco coach Laurent Banide. "It is encouraging, but we still have a long way to go. We know we now have a little room to manoeuvre, but it won't be easy to stay up".

The three points took Monaco not only out of the drop zone, but out of the bottom six after Auxerre and Lens parted with a 1-1 draw. That stalemate all but condemns Lens, neighbours of Lille and champions in 1998, but who are now six points behind a Caen side which occupies the third and last relegation slot.

Nancy, like Monaco, are two points better off than Caen after a goalless home draw with already relegated Arles, who have had just one win all season, while Caen did not help their cause after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Toulouse.