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Game, sept and match to Lyon

Published: Monday 19 May 2008, 18.50CET
Juninho Pernambucano admitted "it's always the same extraordinary feeling" despite Olympique Lyonnais claiming a seventh successive French title on Saturday.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris
Game, sept and match to Lyon
Juninho Pernambucano now has a record seven French titles to his name ©AFP
Published: Monday 19 May 2008, 18.50CET

Game, sept and match to Lyon

Juninho Pernambucano admitted "it's always the same extraordinary feeling" despite Olympique Lyonnais claiming a seventh successive French title on Saturday.

Juninho Pernambucano said "it's always the same extraordinary feeling to win this trophy" after Olympique Lyonnais claimed another French title on Saturday.

Shrinking lead
FC Girondins de Bordeaux had eaten away at Lyon's lead at the top of Ligue 1 in recent weeks, but Saturday's 3-1 win at AJ Auxerre in the final game of the French season was enough to spark title celebrations for a seventh season in succession. "It's just fantastic," the Brazilian said. "Even if it was not the easiest success." The 33-year-old Juninho is one of three Lyon players, along with goalkeeper Grégory Coupet and winger Sidney Govou, to have been involved in all seven of the club's title successes. That trio have now joined AS Saint-Étienne stars Hervé Revelli and Jean-Michel Larqué as the players with the most titles in French history, though Govou said: "I don't feel like a piece of history." Coach Alain Perin, who replaced Gérard Houllier in the summer, added: "Today my feeling is 'job done'. Not bad considering the injuries we had and to the stiffness of the competition."

Sole challengers
Bordeaux were the only side who really challenged Lyon this season, and Laurent Blanc's side can only reflect upon the six points they dropped against Lyon after finishing five points adrift of the champions. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas paid the Aquitaine side a significant compliment when he said of the current campaign: "It was our toughest title yet."

Young star
The star of the campaign was undoubtedly Karim Benzema, who ended the season as the youngest ever Ligue 1 top scorer, hitting his 20th goal of 2007/08 just 24 seconds into the win at Auxerre. "To be honest, I only expected to get 15 goals this season," the French international said. "It's not my first title but it is the first one I really played a significant part in."

Double chance
The young striker and his team-mates will be eager to secure their first league and French Cup double as they meet Paris Saint-Germain FC on Saturday. Lyon have not won the cup since 1973, and Perrin is determined to end the wait, underlining that "finals only mean something if you win them".

Last updated: 19/05/08 16.09CET

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