Ireneusz Jelen's second-half brace earned Auxerre a 2-1 victory at Bordeaux on Wednesday to frustrate the defending champions' bid to pull clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
Jelen struck twice, in the 64th and 83rd minutes, after Bordeaux left-back Benoit Tremoulinas had put the hosts ahead early in the game at the Stade Chaban Delmas with a cruelly deflected goal. "Unfortunately, I won't have happy memories of my first goal in Ligue 1," said Tremoulinas. "We made lots of technical mistakes and didn't hold onto the ball. We were caught out on the counter-attack even though we know that's how they play. We knew how to handle it but we didn't do it."
Bordeaux remain top on goal difference from second-placed Montpellier and still retain a game in hand, but Auxerre, who have won their last four leagues games, are now just a point off the pace in third. "We're thankful for the victory, which we didn't expect before the match," said Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez. "We leave with three points, we're on a good run and I really enjoyed it, even when my team was struggling in the first half."
The match had been due to take place in February but was pushed back to give Bordeaux time to prepare for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Greek side Olympiakos, which they won 1-0. The return leg takes place on March 17, while Bordeaux's congested fixture list also features a meeting with Marseille in the League Cup final on March 27.
Bordeaux took a fortuitous lead in the seventh minute, when Tremoulinas's attempted cross from the left struck Benoit Pedretti on the head and looped over Olivier Sorin in the visiting goal. Sorin kept his side in the game shortly after when he palmed Gregory Sertic's rising first-time effort onto the crossbar.
Auxerre spurned a superb chance to equalise in the early stages of the second period when, after excellent recovery work from Dennis Oliech, Daniel Niculae shot a whisker wide of the right-hand post from 12 yards. The Romanian was to play a crucial role in the equaliser, however, scampering onto Pedretti's pass and, with the Bordeaux defence vainly appealing for offside, crossing for Jelen to volley home with his left instep.
The referee's assistant who correctly failed to flag for offside was struck by an object thrown from the crowd and had to be replaced by the fourth official. There was a much stronger suspicion of offside for Jelen's second, when Cedric Hengbart's pass found the Pole in space behind the Bordeaux defence.
His first effort bounced back off the underside of the crossbar but, with Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso grounded, Jelen headed the rebound into the empty net.