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Lyon on verge of championship

Published: Wednesday 12 May 2004, 23.50CET
Olympique Lyonnais are one win away from a title hat-trick after moving four points clear in Ligue 1. features

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Published: Wednesday 12 May 2004, 23.50CET

Lyon on verge of championship

Olympique Lyonnais are one win away from a title hat-trick after moving four points clear in Ligue 1.

Olympique Lyonnais are one win away from a title hat-trick as they moved four points clear of nearest Ligue 1 rivals AS Monaco FC with two games to go on Wednesday.

Saturday chance
A 1-0 victory against SC Bastia, combined with Monaco's 0-0 draw at RC Strasbourg, means that three points against third-placed Paris Saint-Germain FC on Saturday would continue the domestic dominance of Lyon - who only won their first championship in 2001/02.

Free-kick winner
Juninho Pernambucano's 26th-minute free-kick, his tenth goal of the season, proved enough for Lyon. Bastia's chances virtually ended 19 minutes into the second half when Benoît Cauet was dismissed. Monaco could not break the deadlock at Strasbourg and now must win their final two games and hope for a Lyon slip.

PSG denied
Lyon's win also effectively the title hopes of PSG, who were defeated 3-0 by FC Girondins de Bordeaux 24 hours earlier. PSG trail the leaders by six points and their goal difference is inferior by a margin of 13. Barring a miracle then, Lyon have already effectively secured at least a top-two finish and a UEFA Champions League place.

Nantes held
AJ Auxerre were victorious against RC Lens on Tuesday and are now one win from claiming a UEFA Cup berth in fourth place following FC Nantes Atlantique's 0-0 draw at home to EA Guingamp. Sixth-placed Nantes are four points adrift of Auxerre, who cannot now be caught by UEFA Cup finalists Olympique de Marseille, held 1-1 by bottom club Montpellier Hérault SC.

Relegation peril
Montpellier's Fode Mansare - who equalised Camel Meriem's opener - missed a penalty with two minutes to go, leaving his side in severe relegation danger. They can still catch AC Ajaccio, but must make up six points and six goals in two games after the Corsicans drew 1-1 with fifth-placed FC Sochaux Montbéliard, already sure of a UEFA Cup berth though winning the League Cup.

Strugglers held
Toulouse FC and Le Mans UC 72 are both two points behind Ajaccio as each played out 1-1 draws. OGC Nice held Toulouse in a game where both sides had a player dismissed, while Lille OSC drew at Le Mans. After Wednesday's results, Guingamp are three points off the relegation zone, one behind Bastia, Strasbourg and FC Metz, who drew 0-0 with Stade Rennais FC.

Caen promoted
Whoever goes down will be replaced by Stade Malherbe Caen, who joined AS Saint-Etienne in celebrating promotion from Ligue 2 thanks to a 2-1 win at FC Rouen.

Last updated: 13/05/04 23.12CET



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