Valenciennes and Auxerre share spoils

PARIS - Valenciennes and AJ Auxerre both missed an opportunity to enter the Ligue 1 top three on Tuesday with a 0-0 draw.

With 28 points from 17 games, Auxerre slip from fourth to fifth place, six points adrift of champions and leaders Girondins Bordeaux, two off Montpellier and just behind Lille and Marseille on goal difference.

Valenciennes move up from sixth to fifth on 27 points.

In freezing cold and with snow patches on the pitch, the first half went by without a single chance.

Valenciennes stepped up a gear after the break and Johan Audel fired a powerful shot just above the crossbar in the 48th minute. Two minutes later he set up Gregory Pujol with a perfect centre but Auxerre goalkeeper Olivier Sorin parried the header from the Valenciennes striker.

The northern team dominated the midfield battle until the final whistle but poor finishing and a staunch Auxerre defence prevented them from finding the winning touch.

The match was part of the 11th round of the Ligue 1 scheduled for October 28 but postponed because of France World Cup play-off games against Ireland.

Bordeaux and Marseille travel to Montpellier and Lorient on Wednesday while Olympique Lyon will play a must-win game at home against second-from-bottom Boulogne after a series of poor results which brought them down to ninth place.