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Lyon title hopes fade after 0-0 draw with PSG

LYON was dealt another blow in its bid to win an eighth straight French league title when it was held to 0-0 by visiting Paris Saint-Germain yesterday.

PSG goalkeeper Mickael Landreau twice saved dangerous free kicks from Juninho, and Lyon striker Karim Benzema also went close twice with a powerful first-half strike that flew narrowly over and another shot against the post in the 84th minute.

"It is disappointing, we needed the three points," Lyon coach Claude Puel said. "We played very well, and we were close, there was not much missing. We had some good moments, the shot against the post, and I think we deserved better."

PSG striker Guillaume Hoarau, the second leading scorer in the league with 17 goals, could have scored in the 57th but failed to beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris when he ran through unmarked on a superb pass from defender Ceara.

The draw means Lyon stays in third place with 61 points from 33 rounds, one point behind second-place Bordeaux and three points behind leader Marseille, which have each played a game less.

"We'll see how the other results go, but it's true that this works against us," Puel said. "But still, we will keep going until the end."

Marseille plays at Lille tomorrow and can move six points clear of Lyon if it wins. Bordeaux, which plays in the League Cup final against Vannes today, catches up when it plays away to Rennes next Wednesday.

PSG, meanwhile, stays one point behind Lyon in fourth place, and is still pushing hard for a place in the Champions League next season.

At Stade Gerland, tempers frayed in the second half. With Lyon pressing for a goal, PSG's midfield became overworked and Stephane Sessegnon was cautioned for a late challenge on Lyon defender Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Sensing that the Benin midfielder was losing his composure, PSG coach Paul Le Guen substituted Sessegnon soon after.

PSG midfielder Claude Makelele caught Anthony Mounier in the face with his studs when the Lyon winger lost possession and fell over in front of Makelele. Mounier was cut above his left eyebrow but continued to play after treatment.

Benzema almost won the game for Lyon in the 84th when he collected the ball on the left side of the box and poked a shot past Landreau, only to see it bounce off the post.

Tomorrow's other games, it is: Auxerre vs. Caen; Le Havre vs. Grenoble; Le Mans vs. Monaco; Nancy vs. Nantes; Nice vs. Saint-Etienne; Sochaux vs. Valenciennes; and Toulouse vs. Lorient.


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