Lyon's season in freefall
The season of reigning champions Lyon is in danger of becoming pear-shaped following a 2-0 home loss to Auxerre. A victory for Paris Saint-Germain against arch-rivals Marseille at the Parc des Princes today would put them two points clear at the top, making a trophyless season for Lyon a possibility, following a league and cup double last year.
Barcelona's 5-2 midweek thrashing of Lyon to knock them out of the UEFA Champions League, plus their recent elimination by Lille while defending the French Cup title, has meant an eighth consecutive league title is now their only aim after four consecutive defeats in all competitions.
Goals from Auxerre's Ireneusz Jelen and then Thomas Kahlenberg in the third minute of injury time condemned Lyon to their first home defeat of the season, following seven wins and six draws at their Gerland stadium. Lyon's last home league defeat was way back in November 2007.
Towards the end of an uneventful first half, Jelen made the most of a bad clearance by Lyon defender Jean-Alain Boumsong and a Kahlenberg pass to find the net, before Kahlenberg scored himself by lobbing keeper Hugo Lloris, who had come too far off his line, in the third minute of injury time. Two minutes before the second goal, Auxerre had failed to convert a penalty kick when Cedric Hengbart's effort was saved by Lloris, who had fouled Kevin Lejeune in the box moments earlier.
"We aren't going to make excuses," said Lyon coach Claude Puel. "It's a major setback at home against an opponent whom we should be able to deal with. We need to regain mental and physical freshness and now have a full week to train.
"It's been a difficult season, but it's through difficulty that you forge a squad," Puel added. "If Paris take over at the top it will make newspaper headlines, but it's what happens at the end of the season that counts."