Camara keeps Montpellier firmly in title picture

PARIS Montpellier threw down the title gauntlet after edging out Sochaux 2-1 to open up a provisional three-point lead over Paris Saint Germain on Saturday as the capital club prepared for a Sunday showdown with Marseille.

LIGUE 1

Saturday

Dijon    0-2     Nancy
Brest     3-1     Lille
Evian     1-3     Rennes
Montpellier 2-1     Sochaux
AC Ajaccio     1-1     St Etienne
Valenciennes 2-0     Toulouse
Lyon     2-1     Auxerre

PARIS

Montpellier threw down the title gauntlet after edging out Sochaux 2-1 to open up a provisional three-point lead over Paris Saint Germain on Saturday as the capital club prepared for a Sunday showdown with Marseille.

Younes Belhanda ensured Montpellier, who have never won the championship, were quickly out of the blocks with the opening goal on four minutes and although Maiga levelled matters for the visitors on the half hour Souleyman Camara fired the southerners definitively back into the lead ten minutes after the break.

The three points mean Montpellier lead the way with 63 points from 30 games with eight rounds remaining after an 11th win in their past 12 home matches.

PSG, who have also played 30 games ahead of their Marseille test, invested heavily in talent such as Javier Pastore over the summer following their buyout by Qatari investors.

But their campaign threatens to come off the rails after they lost 2-1 at Nancy last weekend for a first league defeat under Carlo Ancelotti meaning that they have now won just twice in eight matches in all competitions.

On the plus side for the capital club, they will host a Marseille side who not only exited the Champions League in midweek at the hands of Bayern Munich but also who have not won for a club record 10 matches as they bid to stop PSG moving towards a first Ligue 1 crown in 18 years.

Rene Girard’s Montpellier had a slice of luck as Chilean Marco Estrada earned only a yellow card that could easily have been red for a rash foul on Algerian rival Ryad Boudebouz.

Elsewhere in Saturday’s early action, reigning champions Lille conceded two goals in the opening ten minutes as they slumped to a 3-1 loss at a Brest side who moved three points clear of the relegation zone as a result.

Lille’s title push may have thereby suffered a fatal blow as they trail Montpellier by seven points having played a game more.

Fourth-placed Lyon were out to trim a six-point defecit on Lille later Saturday with a home win over Auxerre.

 

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