By Chris Burke
Olympique Lyonnais will have to wait at least another day to be crowned champions of France again after a late strike from debutant Kevin Mirallas handed LOSC Lille Métropole a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain FC.
Three points from the game against AC Ajaccio tomorrow will secure the title for Lyon in front of their own fans, but it looked for a long time that they would wrap things up without having to kick a ball. Either Lille or AS Monaco FC had to record a win for the suspense to continue a little longer, and Monaco were unable to find any kind of breakthrough in a goalless draw away to fifth-placed Stade Rennais FC.
PSG seemed to be on the verge of holding second-placed Lille to the same scoreline until Claude Puel brought on Mirallas in the 82nd minute. The 17-year-old was making his first top-flight appearance, and just three minutes later he found himself one-on-one with Lionel Letizi before burying the ball to leave Lyon with a little more work to do. More importantly as far as his own team are concerned, his strike took Lille three points clear of Monaco in the race for second spot and an automatic place in the UEFA Champions League.
Monaco nonetheless enjoy a five-point cushion in third and the prospect of the Champions League qualifying-round after Olympique de Marseille slumped to a 3-2 defeat at home to SM Caen. The 19th-placed side had twice taken the lead through Sébastien Mazure and Julien Valero, only for Laurent Batllès and Péguy Luyindula to equalise, but late in added-time substitute Cyrille Watier hit the winner to give Franck Dumas a victory in his first game as caretaker manager.
That result leaves Caen within three points of safety, as another new caretaker boss, Gérard Buscher, had to settle for a goalless draw between his OGC Nice side and FC Nantes Atlantique. Nice are now just one point clear of danger, following a 2-0 win for 18th-placed SC Bastia over basement-club FC Istres that officially sends the Provençal side down.
Also on Saturday, RC Strasbourg effectively guaranteed their own survival with a 2-1 triumph away to FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, Lamine Sakho and Pascal Feindouno scored for AS Saint-Etienne in a 2-0 win at Toulouse FC and FC Metz and RC Lens shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
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