Marseille grab second behind Lyon
Two goals from Mamadou Niang and one from Brazilian Brandao in the final half hour gave Marseille a 3-0 victory at Saint-Etienne and propelled them into second spot, just one point behind Lyon. Niang's first came on 60 minutes when his penalty kick eluded Saint-Etienne keeper Jeremie Janot and then 12 minutes later Brandao headed home after good work from Benoit Cheyrou. Niang's second came in the 76th minute, a near-post header from a Hatem Ben Arfa free-kick on the left.
Earlier, Paris Saint-Germain's Guillaume Hoarau and Sammy Traore were on target, while Loic Remy scored for Nice. PSG captain Claude Makelele was delighted by their 2-1 home victory over Nice.
"This victory will allow us to think positively for our next matches. Our previous two defeats meant we lost shape and conviction. We had to get ourselves going again," said Makelele. "From now on, we'll have to be able to play match after match effectively, which will be difficult with UEFA Cup matches coming up." PSG host Dynamo Kiev in the quarter-final, first leg at the Parc des Princes on 9 April, while Marseille visit Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk.
On 4 April, Karim Benzema scored twice for seven-time reigning champions Lyon in a 3-1 victory at Le Mans to boost title chances and ensure they finished the weekend at the top of the table. Bordeaux, meanwhile, warned they were still up for a fight with a last-gasp 1-0 victory at home to Nancy thanks to Marouane Chamakh, and Lille won 2-0 win at Nantes while Toulouse drew 0-0 at lowly Caen.
Benzema's 13th and 14th league goals for Lyon ended a mini-drought, as he had not found the net since 21 February, but hapless Le Mans keeper Pele, who will be leaving the club at the end of the season, hardly gave his future employers a good impression. Lyon boss Claude Puel, who has endured huge criticism lately, admitted afterwards: "The result was flattering."
After 30 matches, Lyon lead the table with 59 points from second-placed Marseille on 58, Bordeaux have 56, while Lille and Paris Saint-Germain both have 55. Former Glasgow Rangers striker Jean-Claude Darcheville scored after just 26 seconds in Valenciennes' 2-0 victory over Auxerre to register the fastest goal in the French championship this season. It beat the previous fastest goal this season of 52 seconds, which was scored by Thomas Kahlenberg for Auxerre against Le Havre on 21 February. The fastest goal of all time in the French top flight was scored by Michel Rio after eight seconds, playing for Caen against Cannes in February 1992.