Lyon clinch third, battle for fourth still on

Ligue 1
23/05/2009

By

Juninho's 100th Ligue 1 goal helped Lyon secure third place and claim a spot in next season's Champions League with a 3-1 defeat of Caen on Saturday. Toulouse moved into fourth thanks to victory at Nice, while Paris Saint-Germain slipped back after losing at Valenciennes.

 Saturday 23 May 2009

 Olympique Lyonnais / SM Caen : 3 - 1

Claude Puel's men had stated their intention of clinching a place in European football's elite competition next season, and their determination was clear as they dominated.

Karim Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside, before Juninho - fittingly - gave the hosts the lead on 36 minutes with his 100th goal for Lyon.

The Brazilian had been felled by Reynald Lemaître, and picked himself up to coolly slot home the spot-kick and spark delirium in the stands at the Stade Municipal de Gerland.

The OL captain, who had admitted the game could well be his last for the club, was engulfed by supporters who had spilled onto the pitch, with one in particular clearly urging him to stay for a ninth season.

Sidney Govou will definitely end his career-long association with OL this summer, and the French international signed off in fitting style, crashing home a second-half shot twenty minutes from time.

The standing ovation Juninho received when he was substituted late on was a fitting tribute to a man who has helped turn Lyon into a Ligue 1 superpower. His tear-filled eyes suggested that the task of taking the club higher in the future will now be that of other men.

Steve Savidan's cross ten minutes from time evaded everyone to nestle in the bottom corner to give the visitors hope, but Benzema's 17th goal of the season means Caen face a nervous last day of the campaign.

>> Team Sheet

 OGC Nice / Toulouse FC : 0 - 2

André-Pierre Gignac's first-half double set Alain Casanova's men on their way to a first win in six league fixtures and keeps the south-west club's ambitions of snatching fourth place very much alive.

Gignac's goalscoring prowess has been much in evidence this season, and he has shown that he hardly needs the helping hand the Nice defence gave him as he opened the scoring 13 minutes in.

The home rearguard failed to deal with a threatening Gignac centre and as Olivier Echouafni and Cédric Kanté left it to each other to clear the danger, the Toulouse forward stole in to fire home his 23rd of the season.

Just after the half-hour mark, he added another to his tally, though this time it was all his own work.

A delightful touch brought a long ball down perfectly and wrongfooted Nice defender Vincent Hognon before Gignac drove a low shot beyond David Ospina to double his side's advantage.

>> Team Sheet

 Stade Rennais FC / FC Lorient : 3 - 1

Rennes remain in contention for a place in the Europa League after earning themselves local bragging rights in Brittany.

Moussa Sow's ninth goal of the season put the hosts in front five minutes before half time, and full-back Rod Fanni touched home the second a minute before the interval after Carlos Bocanegra had flicked on a corner at the near post.

Marama Vahirua pulled one back for the visitors, but a delightful through ball from Jérôme Leroy gave Jirès Kembo the opportunity to hammer in a third with ten minutes left.

>> Team Sheet

 Valenciennes FC / Paris Saint-Germain : 2 - 1

Paris Saint-Germain's ambitions of European football are in the balance after they saw a stubborn Valenciennes side come from behind at the Stade Nungesser.

Mateja Kezman hopes a change of coach at PSG will kickstart his Ligue 1 career, and he confirmed the fine form he has shown since the announcement of Paul Le Guen's departure with a cool finish to a sweeping move just 11 minutes in to register his second goal in three games.

Valenciennes, though, found a second-half leveller - Gaël Danic's free-kick was met with a firm downward header from Johan Audel that was too good for Mickaël Landreau.

Landreau then blocked a close-range effort from Grégory Pujol only for the ball to somehow squirm from the goalkeeper's grasp and over the line to leave PSG hanging on to a top-five spot.

>> Team Sheet








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