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Bordeaux, Marseille win to keep race alive

BORDEAUX and Marseille both won yesterday to set up a decisive final round of the French league next week, with Bordeaux leading Marseille by three points at the top.

Bordeaux survived some nervy moments to beat Monaco 1-0 at home thanks to Marouane Chamakh's 13th goal of the season, while Marseille won 2-1 at Nancy on a deflected strike from Laurent Bonnart and a goal from Brazilian striker Brandao.

The win took Bordeaux to 77 points from 37 matches, while Marseille has 74 points.

Bordeaux set a new French record with its 10th straight league win.

"The lads are in the process of doing something exceptional," coach Laurent Blanc said. "We can't do any better than that. They deserve their place in history."

But Marseille can still win the title if it wins its final match at home against Rennes next week and Bordeaux loses at Caen, which needs to win to avoid relegation.

"We wanted to take the title race to the last week and we're still around," Marseille coach Eric Gerets said. "We're not favorites but we are still in it. The French league will have an amazing finale thanks to Marseille."

Gerets was counting on Caen thwarting Bordeaux's party plans.

"Caen will play to win and to save its skin," Gerets said. "It is a quite exceptional end to the season."

Monaco missed several chances against lackluster Bordeaux, which defended for most of the match after Chamakh's 38th-minute goal, where he rose to head in a dipping cross from Yoann Gourcuff.

"I don't think we deserved to lose," Monaco coach Ricardo said.

At Nancy, Brandao headed in Mamadou Niang's cross after just five minutes, but the goal was ruled offside, even though television replays showed the forward was nearly one meter behind Nancy's defender when Niang's cross came in.

At Bordeaux, the visitor pushed forward in the closing stages and goalkeeper Ulrich Rame had to make a smart save in the closing stages to deny Monaco a point.

Elsewhere, seven-time defending champion Lyon beat Caen 3-1 at home to ensure a third-place finish and a slot in the Champions League qualifying round with 70 points. Juninho got his 100th career goal for Lyon, while Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema completed the win.

In other results, it was: Auxerre 1, Saint-Etienne 0; Le Havre 0, Lille 1; Le Mans 1, Grenoble 1; Nice 0, Toulouse 2; Rennes 3, Lorient 1; Sochaux 2, Nantes 1; and Valenciennes 2, Paris Saint-Germain 1.

At Lyon, Juninho scored from the penalty spot in the 34th after he was fouled controlling a pass from Benzema, who earlier had a goal ruled out for offside. Juninho is expected to leave the club at the end of the season and was given a long standing ovation when he was substituted near the end.

In the race for a Europa Cup place, Toulouse leapfrogged PSG into fourth place on goals difference, with both teams on 63 points; Rennes and Lille are close behind with 61 each.

PSG took the lead in the 11th minute when Mateja Kezman turned in Ludovic Giuly's cross, but Valenciennes bounced back on second-half goals from Johan Audel and Gregory Pujol. Valenciennes coach Antoine Kombouare is expected to join PSG.

Toulouse striker Andre-Pierre Gignac notched both goals to improve his league-leading tally to 24.

Gignac got his first in the 13th minute when he broke down the right and his cross was poorly cleared, allowing him to collect the loose ball and finish the move he started with a low strike.

The second in the 31st was brilliant as he deftly collected a high ball down the left side, cut inside his marker without breaking stride and slotted in a low shot inside the near post.

At the bottom of the table, Le Havre was already relegated with 25 points, while Nantes was all but relegated with 34, and Saint-Etienne dropped into the relegation zone with 37.

Caen also had 37 and led Saint-Etienne on goal difference. Saint-Etienne hosts Valenciennes next weekend.

Sochaux took a big step toward survival and moved up to 15th place with 39 points, while Le Mans had the same total and was one place behind in 16th.

Turkey striker Mevlut Erding headed in a low pass from the left to give Sochaux the lead in the 35th, and defender Rabiu Afolabi made it 2-0 shortly before halftime to send Nantes closer to the second division. Mamadou Bagayoko gave Nantes some hope when he scored a penalty early in the second half, but the club has a vastly inferior goal difference to Caen.

"Of course it's finished," veteran Nantes midfielder Frederic Da Rocha said.


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