PSG edge Brest as Giroud rescues Montpellier

28 January 2012 08:46

Title favourites Paris Saint-Germain preserved their three-point lead in Ligue 1 after ending Brest's unbeaten home record with a narrow 1-0 victory at Stade Francis Le Ble on Saturday.

Second-placed Montpellier remain on the leaders' tail, however, after Olivier Giroud's last-minute strike earned them a 1-0 win at Nice, while Lyon overcame a controversial goal to beat Dijon 3-1 and move above Lille into third place.

Brest goalkeeper Steeve Elana had to save from Nene in the early stages against PSG but from the resulting corner, Serbian defender Milan Bisevac bundled the visitors ahead.

PSG were missing both Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez through injury and were made to endure some nervous moments towards the end of the first half, notably when Salvatore Sirigu had to save from Brest debutant Alexandre Alphonse.

Carlo Ancelotti's side assumed the upper hand in the second period, however, with Mathieu Bodmer and Nene both going close to extending Paris' lead.

Giroud, Ligue 1's top scorer, had seen a first-half penalty saved by Nice goalkeeper David Ospina but he redeemed himself in the final minute to take his tally for the season to 15 league goals.

The result left Montpellier on 43 points, three points shy of PSG but five points clear of Lyon.

Lyon took an eighth-minute lead against Dijon when Jimmy Briand headed home Michel Bastos' inswinging cross but Dijon drew level in contentious circumstances in the 61st minute.

OL centre-back Samuel Umtiti crumpled to the ground inside his own box after an apparent foul by Brice Jovial but play continued and, with the home defence anticipating the referee's whistle, Younousse Sankhare slammed the ball home.

Referee Bartolomeu Varela ignored the furious Lyon protests but in the 82nd minute Bafetimbi Gomis restored the hosts' advantage, brilliantly turning past two defenders before lashing a left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Alexandre Lacazette finished off a crisp team move in the dying stages to kill off Dijon's hopes of a comeback.

Former Brest striker Nolan Roux is set to make his Lille debut in Saturday's late game, when the defending champions will look to recover third place from Lyon by winning at home to Saint-Etienne.

Giroud's late intervention meant that Nice slipped one place to 19th, with Sochaux climbing above them after rescuing a 1-1 draw at Lorient through a stunning late strike from Cedric Bakambu.

Romanian striker Daniel Niculae returned to haunt former club Auxerre by scoring twice in a 3-1 away win for Nancy.

In the day's other game, Toulouse drew level on points with sixth-placed Marseille courtesy of a solitary strike from Emmanuel Riviere in a 1-0 win at home to Caen.

Source: AFP