Bordeaux beat Le Mans to go three clear at top

BORDEAUX - Girondins Bordeaux struggled to a 3-2 victory at home against Le Mans to move three points clear at the top of Ligue 1 on Saturday. Bordeaux's ninth successive win in the league put them on 74 points, three ahead of Olympique Marseille, who host Olympique Lyon on Sunday. Marseille will go back to the top on goal difference if they beat the outgoing champions. Third-place Lyon are now 10 points behind Bordeaux and cannot be crowned champions for an eighth year in a row. Paris St Germain stayed fourth, one point behind Lyon, after a 2-1 home defeat to Auxerre reduced their chances of Champions League qualification. Bordeaux had to wait until the last 15 minutes to prevail over Le Mans, who opened the scoring and then made it 2-2 with an Anthony Le Tallec double. "The really good thing tonight is that we are certain to play in the Champions League next season," Bordeaux's coach Laurent Blanc told reporters. "We still have two games left to try to end the season in first spot and if another team do better than us despite our outstanding run then they will deserve the title," he added. After Le Mans had opened the scoring against the run of play midway through the first half, Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh headed home the equaliser from a Yoann Gourcuff cross. The France playmaker then put Bordeaux in front with a powerful volley in a packed goalmouth from a corner just before the interval. Le Tallec equalised in the 54th minute with his second goal but a Gourcuff volley from a Benoit Tremoulinas corner bounced off the post to defender Marc Planus who tapped into an empty net for Bordeaux's winner. Ligue 1's top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac netted his 22nd goal of the season to help fifth-placed Toulouse salvage a 2-2 draw at strugglers St Etienne. Toulouse are fifth on 60 points while St Etienne are in 17th place, the last above the relegation zone, with 37 points, one ahead of Sochaux, who lost 2-0 at Caen.