Saturday, May 30, 2020

Lyon suffer new title blow with PSG stalemate

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 24 Apr 2009


Lyon’s chances of an eighth successive French league title suffered another blow on Friday when they were held to a 0-0 draw by fellow championship hopefuls PSG.

The draw left Lyon in third place, three points behind leaders Marseille who have a game in hand with just four matches left to play.

The champions’ home form is beginning to turn into their Achilles heel in the title race as they have now won just three of their last 12 matches at the Stade Gerland.

They also face a tough run-in to the campaign with trips to Marseille and Toulouse still to come.

PSG had their best opportunity when top scorer Guillaume Hoarau was denied by Hugo Lloris in the Lyon goal in the 58th minute, but Lyon could have won the game six minutes from time when Karim Benzema saw a shot come back off the post.

Second-placed Bordeaux, who are two points behind Marseille, take a break from league action on Saturday when they meet second division Vannes in the League Cup final.

Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc has spent the build-up to the match lamenting the state of the game in France.

“All those who say French football is suffering from shortage of money, structures, sponsors, from the tax laws are right,” said Blanc.

“In Spain or in Italy, football is an integral part of people’s life. In France, save for two or three points on the compass, it’s entertainment, a show. The problem is we will never manage to close the gap.”

French players have for decades made a name for themselves in England, Italy and Spain and Franck Ribery has achieved stardom with Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga.

But the domestic league has struggled in the meantime with several of the more successful clubs of yesteryear, such as Nantes and Saint Etienne, struggling badly.

Lyon, while sweeping all before them in Ligue 1, have consistently failed to move up a gear in Europe, regularly getting through the group phase of the Champions League only to crash out shortly afterwards without ever reaching even a semi-final.

Next Wednesday Bordeaux will travel to French Cup finalists Rennes for their next league match by which time they could be five points adrift of Marseille, who have a tough match at sixth-placed Lille on Saturday.


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