Bordeaux ensured that the French league title would remain a two horse race when they beat relegation-threatened Sochaux 3-0 on Sunday and edged a little bit nearer what would be their first title since 1999.
However, Bordeaux coach and former France international great Laurent Blanc was not totally over the moon about his side’s victory which saw them go level on points with Marseille and just below them on goal difference.
“We lacked a little bit of energy,” said Blanc.
“It wasn’t easy to recuperate after the match with Rennes (last Wednesday down to 10-men Bordeaux came from behind to beat Rennes 3-2).
“However, these bunch of guys will not let anything go.
“I hope that they will get their due reward. What is the reward? The Champions League.”
Marseille’s hopes of getting a break on Bordeaux and moving closer to a first French league title since 1992 suffered a setback on Saturday when they had to settle for a share of the points in a tense 2-2 home draw with Toulouse.
Marseille began the match with a two-point lead over Bordeaux and a six-point cushion on seven-time champions Lyon, but instead of capitalising on Lyon’s shock 2-0 defeat to Valenciennes earlier Eric Gerets side dropped two precious points.
Gerets dropped a bombshell on the club in midweek when he announced his departure at the end of this season due to “unjustified” criticism from club owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus at the start of the year.
But that did not stop the Belgian from getting emotional on the sidelines about a match in which both sides had victory within their grasp.
Andre-Pierre Gignac, who recently made his debut for France, opened the scoring for Toulouse in the 48th minute, only for Mahamadou Niang to pull Marseille level 15 minutes later.
Gignac then took advantage of some slack Marseille defending to grab his second, only for Niang, a minute later, to be credited with a second goal which took a freakish deflection.
Gignac is now the league’s leading scorer with 21 goals, but it is a place in Europe next season which Toulouse, in fifth place two points behind Paris Saint Germain, covet most.
“To get a draw at Marseille, who are playing well right now, can’t be sniffed at,” said Toulouse coach Alain Casanova.
“After the season we’ve had, we have to aim for a place in Europe.”
Reigning champions Lyon’s hopes of an eighth consecutive crown were seriously dashed after a shock 2-0 defeat away to northern side Valenciennes.
Valenciennes’ Johan Audel scored a first-half brace in a match in which Lyon failed to put their title credentials on display, leaving them at the mercy of results elsewhere.
Even before Marseille hosted Toulouse later Saturday, Lyon midfielder Cris all but sounded the death knell for his side.
“As far as the title goes, it’s over for us tonight,” the Brazilian told Canal Plus television.
“All we can do now is concentrate on our last four matches to make sure of our place in the Champions League.”
He added: “We can’t take anything away from Valenciennes. We were pitiful. In the first half we barely got out of second gear, and it was hardly better in the second half.”
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