Bocanegra nets as Rennes rise to sixth

PARIS - Goals by U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra and France's Jimmy Briand fired Rennes to a 2-0 victory over AJ Auxerre on Sunday, pushing them into sixth place in Ligue 1. Both goals came thanks to crosses from Mickael Pagis and left Rennes on 46 points, seven behind leaders Olympique Lyon. The top two teams get automatic berths in next season's Champions League. At the other end of the table, Le Havre remained anchored in bottom place despite a 2-1 win over second-from-last Sochaux. Sochaux took the lead thanks to Jacques Faty, but Le Havre fought back with goals by Amadou Alassane and Kevin Anin to register only their fifth victory of the season. St Etienne vaulted out of the relegation zone following a 2-1 win over Nantes, which left both teams on 29 points, three clear of the drop zone. Both St Etienne's goals were scored by Brazilian striker Ilan, including a spectacular, hard-driven shot from outside the penalty area, giving the 10-times French champions reason to believe that they will stay in Ligue 1 next season. On Saturday, Lyon lost 2-0 to Lille, leaving them just one point ahead of Paris St Germain as they bid for a record eighth consecutive title.