Lyon nearly out of Champions League race

* PSG fight back to beat Valenciennes

* Level with Montpellier who play on Monday (Recasts after PSG win)

By Julien Pretot

PARIS, May 6 (Reuters) - Paris St Germain recovered from a disastrous start to move level with Montpellier on points at the top of Ligue 1 with a dramatic 4-3 victory at Valenciennes on Sunday.

PSG were 2-0 down after 11 minutes but goals by Nene, Maxwell, Blaise Matuidi and Jeremy Menez lifted them to 73 points with two games left and they lead Montpellier, who play their game in hand against Stade Rennes on Monday, on goal difference.

Champions Lille, who are third on 68 points, still have an outside chance of winning the title going into their home game against Caen on Monday.

Olympique Lyon lost any real hope of securing a Champions League spot next season when they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Stade Brest that left them eight points behind Lille with three games left.

At Valenciennes, the PSG defence cracked twice in the opening 11 minutes but Carlo Ancelotti's side were brilliant up front and eventually sealed a much-waited win.

Valenciennes went ahead on eight minutes when Vincent Aboubakar netted with a deflected crossed shot.

Three minutes later, Salvatore Sirigu failed to block Abaoubakar's low shot and Remi Gomis poked the ball home to make it 2-0.

It took PSG only three muinutes to hit back as Nene collected a fine chip from Jeremy Menez in the area to fire past Nicolas Penneteau.

Nene set up Maxwell with a through pass five minutes from the interval for his fellow Brazilian to beat Penneteau with a low, angled shot.

PSG went 3-2 up on the stroke of halftime when Matuidi latched on to Javier Pastore's defence-splitting pass. Menez wrapped up victory shortly before the hour by curling a low shot into the net after being set up by Nene.

Renaud Cohade pulled one back for Valenciennes with a direct free kick on 85 minutes.

Earlier, Lyon's hopes of playing in the Champions League for the 13th season in a row were almost certainly crushed at Stade Brest.

"It's almost over (for third place) now," centre back Cris told French TV Channel Foot +.

"We played well in the first half, we had a lot of chances but we sank physically after the break."

Lyon relied on the brilliant Yoann Gourcuff, who produced a fine performance nine days before France coach Laurent Blanc unveils his preliminary squad of home-based players for the European championship finals.

Gourcuff, who looked to have regained his touch, opened the scoring with a diving header from a Mouhamadou Dabo cross eight minutes before the interval.

He then set up Lisandro Lopez with a fine curling cross from the right, only for the Argentine striker to fluff his volley.

Lorenzi, however, equalised 15 minutes from time when he fired home from close range from a corner.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


SHARES
comments