Lyon crash as stalemate reigns in France

Lyon crashed back to earth on Saturday as they missed their chance to join the leading group in the French top flight, being held to a 1-1 draw at home to local rivals St. Etienne.

The former seven-time champions were a long way from their mid-week heroics at the Santiago Bernabeu when they sealed a 2-1 aggregate win over Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Champions League.

A first half goal from striker Emmanuel Riviere put 17th-placed St. Etienne ahead with the hosts having to wait until 80 minutes for the equaliser from Argentinian striker Lisandro Lopez.

Earlier leaders Bordeaux missed a chance to pull ahead with a goalless draw at Monaco, as fellow challengers Montpellier and Auxerre played out a 1-1 draw.

Bordeaux remain top with 53 points after 27 games, with a game in hand on Montpellier, who also have 53, with Auxerre just a point behind in third. Lyon are fourth with 50 points after 28 games. Meanwhile, Paris Saint Germain put their woes behind them with a Mevlut Erding hat-trick inspiring them to a 4-1 home win over Sochaux.

We're glad to get this point. We know we're going through a tricky period so it's important to gather points, and we needed to come away with points from Monaco.
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc, pleased to hold on to the top spot

Montpellier miss their chance
In Lyon, St. Etienne grabbed the lead after 38 minutes following good work by Argentinian striker Gonzalo Bergessio down the left flank, as he set up Riviere whose diving header left Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris with no chance.

St. Etienne could thank goalie Jeremie Janot for their point as he held firm faced with a barrage of late strikes on goal, before Lisandro broke through with a header into the top of the net.

Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc was happy to come away with a point from Monaco despite his side having collected just six points from their last six games. "We're glad to get this point," he said. "We know we're going through a tricky period so it's important to gather points, and we needed to come away with points from Monaco."

Montpellier missed their chance to overtake Bordeaux after a goal from Dennis Oliech just before the break put Auxerre on their way. Oliech picked up a cross from striker Daniel Niculae, beating two defenders to open their account, only for Alberto Costa to level for Montpellier after 65 minutes following a Souleymane Camara pass.

PSG coach Antoine Kombouare wasn't getting carried away by the win despite moving up three places to eleventh. "We musn't get too excited," he said. "I was a bit disappointed by Sochaux's game. We saw a below-par team but we gave them nothing and that broke them mentally. The important thing is that we won."

Guillaume Hoarau opened for PSG after 17 minutes before Erding doubled a minute later, with the Turkish striker claiming his second after 35 minutes. Ryad Boudebouz got one back for Sochaux after 63 minutes when he stepped up to take a penalty, but Erding found the net again five minutes later.

Elsewhere, second-from-bottom Boulogne shocked Nancy 3-1, as relegation-threatened Nice came away with a 1-0 win from Le Mans with Lorient beating Lens by the same scoreline.