By Chris Burke
Olympique Lyonnais remain on top of Ligue 1 after a 1-0 victory at home to ten-man RC Strasbourg, while second-placed LOSC Lille Métropole overcame AS Saint-Etienne by the same scoreline to remain hot on their heels.
Paul Le Guen's Lyon move on to 26 points but there was tangible relief when Pierre-Alain Frau finally scored against the division's worst defence. His third of the season came on 68 minutes following good work from Sylvain Wiltord, by which time nineteenth-placed Strasbourg had been playing with ten men for half an hour. Sidi Keita was the man sent off after his tackle on Claudio Caçapa saw the Lyon captain carried off with what looks like being a serious injury.
Right behind Lyon are Claude Puel's Lille, who have now won six of seven encounters at home. They are just one point behind the leaders thanks to Stéphane Dumont's ninth-minute strike, while opponents Saint Etienne drop into the relegation zone after a run of five games without victory. Behind the top two, a four-point gap has opened up as AJ Auxerre were held 1-1 at home to Paris Saint-Germain FC, Bonaventure Kalou equalising after Pauleta had headed the capital club in front. PSG had Vedad Ibisevic sent off in added time and remain in 14th place.
There was much to celebrate for FC Sochaux-Montbéliard meanwhile, as they picked up three points in their 2,000th top-flight match. Watched by several legendary players from the club's past, Jérémy Mathieu and Brazilian striker Ilan got the goals in a 2-0 win over Toulouse FC that takes Sochaux up to sixth. Right behind them are FC Girondins de Bordeaux, who have now drawn five straight games. RC Lens opened the scoring through Nigerian John Utaka on the hour, but Camel Meriem volleyed in the almost inevitable equaliser eight minutes later.
Elsewhere, Rolland Courbis' first game back in charge of AC Ajaccio ended in a 1-1 draw with FC Nantes Atlantique, while the match between Stade Rennais FC against SM Caen also finished 1-1. In the day's other games, early goals from Sébastien Renouard and Grégory Leca moved FC Metz up to eighth place in a 2-0 win over SC Bastia, and OGC Nice drew 0-0 with bottom-club FC Istres.
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