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PSG draw hits Lyon title hopes

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

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 third on 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."

Six points clear

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

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

In Germany, Hertha Berlin jumped into provisional second place in the Bundesliga with a 1-0 victory over slumping Hoffenheim on Friday.

The win gave Berlin 55 points, two behind leader VfL Wolfsburg. Bayern Munich and Hamburg were one point behind Hertha.

"This victory really gives us a lot of energy for the rest of the season," Berlin manager Dieter Hoeness said. "We were under a lot of pressure, especially in the second half. But we barely won and that's what's most important."

Hoeness said this weekend's showdown at Hamburg will be critical, adding: "If we can beat Hamburg then anything is possible."

Patrick Ebert scored in the 40th for Berlin to collect its second straight victory after three losses.

Hoffenheim's winless streak stretched to 11 games as the leader after the first half remained on 45 points, in eighth place and six points from a spot in international play next season.


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