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French champions Lyon slump to first defeat

Seven-times reigning French league champions Lyon were thrashed 3-0 by Rennes on Sunday for their first defeat of the season following a Mickael Pagis hat-trick.

Lyon's Brazilian centre back Cris looked in difficulty, left back Kim Kallstrom was out of sorts and the absences of key players Sidney Govou and Juninho through injury contributed to the demise of Claude Puel's men.

Lyon had won six of their seven matches till this defeat with their only dropped points a 0-0 draw against Lorient.

Puel's men were in a 4-4-2 formation, as a result of Juninho's absence, for the first time in a year and this tactical change could have contributed to their poor performance.

Rennes had the upper hand in midfield against their opponents, who earned a creditable 1-1 Champions League draw at Bayern Munich in midweek, though it was the performance of 35-year-old striker Pagis which stood out as he earned his first goals of the season.

The fixture for Pagis to finally get off the scoresheet could not have fallen better for Rennes.

His 17th minute goal was a simple affair, his second in the 56th minute was a superb team effort and his 67th-minute third was a sublime individual goal as he found the net with a powerful shot from long range.

Lyon, who have not been beaten 3-0 in the competition since losing to Lens in January, suffered their first league defeat since April 6.

Lyon Karim Benzema, who has attracted interest from a host of top European clubs and has been linked with a move to Manchester United, had a sub-par match though he did have a couple of chances in the first half.

Also on Sunday, St Etienne had a 2-0 victory over Monaco while Nancy was hosting Paris Saint Germain in the late match.

Sun 5 Oct, 2008
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