Lyon retain four-point lead at Monaco

MONACO - Olympique Lyon preserved their four-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win at Monaco on Saturday thanks to a goal by striker Fred. The seven times French champions reshuffled their team after a 2-0 Champions league win over Steaua Bucharest in midweek and the changes paid dividends when usual second-choice players Fred and Kim Kallstrom combined to secure the points. Brazilian Fred capitalised on a cross from the Sweden midfielder to score the winner in the 55th minute. Lyon, who have not conceded a goal in their last five games, escaped a late scare when Monaco's Camel Meriem headed just wide from close range in stoppage time. "We had the upper hand throughout the game and our win is deserved," said Lyon coach Claude Puel. "A Monaco equaliser would have been harsh." Lyon lead the standings with 30 points from 13 games ahead of Olympique Marseille, who kept up the pressure in second place by cruising to a 3-0 win at promoted Grenoble. Last season's runners-up Girondins Bordeaux are third on 24 points after a 2-0 win at home to Auxerre. THIRD-CHOICE KEEPER Marseille needed only four minutes to open the scoring when in-form playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa deflected Mamadou Niang's off-target attempt into the net. Ivory Coast forward Bakary Kone made it 2-0 from close range in the 32nd minute after poor defending by Grenoble's Maxence Flachez, who failed to head away a cross from Laurent Bonnart. Midfielder Benoit Cheyrou sealed Marseille's victory with a 25-metre drive in the 82nd. Bordeaux had to wait until 20 minutes from time to break down visitors Auxerre with goals from strikers Fernando Cavenaghi and Marouane Chamakh. They had to playe the second half with third-choice goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa after Matthieu Valverde was carried off on a stretcher following a collision with Auxerre striker Dennis Oliech just before the interval. Valverde had been brought into the team to cover for injured first-choice keeper and Bordeaux captain Ulrich Rame. Sochaux moved off the bottom after a 2-1 home win over Le Mans as they recorded their first Ligue 1 victory this season. In Saturday's late game, Toulouse drew 1-1 at Nantes but have slipped one place to fifth below Nice who also have 22 points after a 1-0 win at Lorient but a better goal difference.


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