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PSG dent Lyon's title hopes

Last updated on: April 26, 2009 15:53 IST

Olympique Lyon's hopes of clinching an eighth consecutive Ligue 1 title suffered another blow when they were held to a goalless draw at home to Paris St Germain on Friday.

Lyon remain third in the standings on 61 points with five games left, three points adrift of leaders Olympique Marseille, who travel to Lille on Sunday.

The hosts, who lost 1-0 at Girondins Bordeaux last weekend, dominated the match but were denied by PSG goalkeeper Mickael Landreau, who made a couple of great saves after the interval.

Paris St Germain stay fourth on 60 points.

Lyon were denied a penalty on the stroke of halftime when Karim Benzema's header appeared to have been deflected by the hand of PSG defender Ceara.

The linesman signalled for a penalty but referee Bertrand Layec thought otherwise, awarding a corner to Lyon.

"(The handball) was deliberate and it was a deliberate decision from the referee to cancel the decision of the linesman, who had seen the reality," Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas told French TV channel Orange Sport.

Lyon enjoyed most of the possession but PSG were dangerous on the counter attack with Guillaume Hoarau denied by keeper Hugo Lloris in the 57th minute after being set up by Ceara's defence-splitting pass.

The hosts also had a clear chance with 20 minutes remaining when Francois Clerc's attempt from just inside the area was parried by Landreau, who also made a superb save to keep out a Juninho free kick.

France striker Benzema, who has been struggling this year, hit the post in the 84th after collecting a Juninho pass on the edge of the area.

"We needed all three points. We deserved better. It is a blow for our title hopes," Lyon coach Claude Puel told French Orange Sport. "But we will fight until the end anyway."

PSG defender Zoumana Camara added: "We have some regrets. They are still ahead of us but they have some tough matches ahead. Anything can happen for the Champions League spot."

The top two in Ligue 1 qualify automatically for the Champions League group stage while the third-placed team goes into a two-legged playoff for a place in the group stage.

Bordeaux win League Cup

Girondins Bordeaux lifted the French League Cup for the third time with a 4-0 demolition of second division Vannes on Saturday.

Vannes, who had knocked out three Ligue 1 sides on their way to the final at Stade de France, collapsed when they conceded three goals in the first 12 minutes.

Brazilian midfielder Wendel started the rout with a fine goal after three minutes and further efforts by defender Marc Planus and midfielder Yoan Gouffran followed soon after.

Midfielder Yoann Gourcuff wrapped up a comfortable victory for the Girondins shortly before halftime.

Bordeaux, League Cup winners in 2002 and 2007, made sure of a place in the third qualifying round of the Europa League, which replaces the UEFA Cup next season, and stayed in contention for a domestic league and cup double.

They are just two points behind Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Marseille with six matches left.

Vannes were hoping to become the second club from the second division to win the League Cup after Gueugnon in 2000 but soon found out to their cost that Bordeaux were much too strong.

"I had told my players that the best way to show Vannes respect was to put them under pressure straight away and try to score as many goals as we could," Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc said in a televised interview.

"We had to show them that we were the better side and we did that," he added. "The game was decided in the first 15 minutes. We're happy tonight and now we have an exciting end of season to look forward to."

Wendel showed Bordeaux the way, controlling the ball with his chest before flicking it over keeper Christophe Revel.

Planus tapped home from a Wendel corner seven minutes later before Gouffran killed the tie with a headed goal from Gourcuff's free kick.

Wendel then had to be substituted with a knee injury but Bordeaux stayed in control of the match.

Gourcuff further punished the Brittany side with a deflected shot from the edge of the area after 40 minutes, making sure Bordeaux won the final by the biggest margin since the competition was introduced in the 1994-95 season.

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