Ligue 1 Round 35 Results: Lille and Lyon keep pressure on the top two

Les Dogues scored a narrow away win over struggling Nice to keep themselves on the fringes of the title race, but it was a good deal easier for OL
Ajaccio 2-1 Sochaux

Ajaccio performed a vital turnaround against nine-man Sochaux, coming from behind to record a 2-1 victory.

Given the importance of this relegation battle, it was something of a surprise that the first half was so open, but despite both sides having chances, the scoreline was untouched at the break, with the hosts missing the best of the opportunities.

Ten minutes after the break, a terrific corner was delivered by Marvin Martin to Sloan Privat, who headed the opening goal.

Sochaux might have ceded their lead moments later as David Sauget was dismissed in the act of conceding a penalty, but Teddy Richert saved Johann Cavalli’s poor effort.

When Yassin Mikari was dismissed with 20 minutes remaining, the response from the Corsicans was enormous. Christian Kinkela coolly converted the resultant penalty, and four minutes from time Richard Socrier stole in to convert Ilan’s cross, pushing the hosts clear of the drop zone.

Bordeaux 2-0 Rennes

Bordeaux dealt a heavy blow to Rennes’ European aspirations by recording a 2-0 victory at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

After a poor first half, the home team really kicked on after the interval. Yoan Gouffran’s centre was touched to Ludovic Obraniak by Henri Saivet, and the Pole finished with some aplomb.

Benoit Tremoulinas, who would enjoy a terrific second period, then created an opening for Landry Nguemo that was finished impressively, and there would have been further goals for the hosts, who produced a very impressive showing.

Brest 0-0 Toulouse

Brest picked up a 0-0 draw against Toulouse on Wednesday evening but may live to regret the chances they missed against the European hopefuls as they continue their battle against the drop.

Without being spectacular, the home side were undoubted the more proactive of the two outfits in the first period, but Bruno Grougi missed their best chance.

The midfielder has been an inspiration for his side all season, but 20 minutes from time he became the victim as Ali Ahamada enhanced his reputation as an ace penalty stopper, psyching out the midfielder, who shot over the top.

A draw does neither side a great deal of good in their respective aims, though Toulouse’s continental dreams are all but over following this stalemate.

Caen 1-0 Lorient

Caen picked up three vital points in the relegation dogfight by defeating Lorient 1-0 in Normandy.

During the first period Franck Dumas’ side were inspired by the return of winger Romain Hamouma and created a number of excellent chances, the best of which was squandered in embarrassing circumstances by Mbaye Niang.

The home side continued to be much the better side into the second 45 minutes, and they got their reward midway through the half when Thomas Heurtaux’s terrific run and shot provided the game’s decisive moment.

There was to be no reply from Lorient, whose place in Ligue 1 next term is not yet secured but who remain above les Malherbes on goal difference.

Lyon 4-1 Valenciennes

Lyon built on their Coupe de France win at the weekend to strengthen their challenge for third spot in the league, defeating Valenciennes 4-1 at Stade Gerland.

The match started rather slowly but burst into life 10 minutes before the interval, when Alexandre Lacazette centred from the right for Lisandro Lopez to bury.

OL’s lead lasted a matter of moments as Valenciennes swept up the other end of the park and won a soft penalty kick for a foul on Matthieu Dossevi. From the spot, the reliable Renaud Cohade made no mistake.

When Lyon struck twice in quick succession in the second half, they had been under pressure previously. Substitute Clement Grenier made an immediate impression by crossing for Cris to head home soon after arriving on the field, and three minutes later some intense pressing was rewarded as Lisandro stole onto a loose ball to score.

Jimmy Briand added some gloss with a goal two minutes from time after Jeremy Pied’s good work.

Remi Garde’s men have therefore kept the pressure on the top three sides in Ligue 1, though these teams are also setting a strong pace.

Marseille 1-0 Nancy

Marseille picked up their first Ligue 1 victory since January as they scored a narrow 1-0 success over Nancy.

Didier Deschamps’ side started the game impressively and were profligate with several chances before Loic Remy controversially broke the offside trap to finish neatly past Guy Ndy Assembe.

There was an incredible response from Nantes, who had been dominated in the first period, in the second period. Steve Mandanda had to be on his toes to save several good efforts, and OM rode their luck in spectacular style when Remy seemed to handle in his own box.

Jordan Ayew offered some threat for the home side, but he was twice excellently denied by the Cameroon goalkeeper, who was otherwise underemployed in the second period.

Although this was not a convincing performance, Marseille will be thankful of three points that keep their hopes of a top 10 finish alive