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Football | France

Olivier Giroud reacts © Reuters Images

PSG fail to exploit Montpellier setback

Paris Saint-Germain failed to capitalise on leaders Montpellier's slip-up against Lorient after conceding an 87th-minute goal to draw 1-1 at Ligue 1's bottom side Auxerre on Sunday.

With Montpellier having gone down 2-1 at Lorient earlier in the day, PSG were bidding to draw level on points at the top of the table but Anthony Le Tallec's late equaliser left them two points behind the leaders with six games to play.

"It was a problem of determination and concentration," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, who started with record signing Javier Pastore on the bench.

"We played too sloppily. If we want to win the championship, we won't do it playing like that. We have to completely change our attitude.

"I'm annoyed with the players. We have to react quickly. We've missed a big opportunity and I'm not happy."

After Jeremy Menez grazed the post following a neat back-heel from Kevin Gameiro, PSG forward Nene broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when he steered the ball past Olivier Sorin to claim his 14th league goal of the campaign.

Auxerre midfielder Kamel Chafni hit the post after wriggling through the PSG defence in the 53rd minute, while visiting goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu had to produce a smart save to repel Dennis Oliech's header moments later.

Substitute Sylvain Armand almost scored an own goal with nine minutes to play before Auxerre's pressure finally told, with substitute Le Tallec tapping home after Sirigu had fumbled a low shot from Omar Kossoko.

Despite striking a potentially pivotal blow in the title race, Auxerre remain five points adrift of safety.

At Lorient, the hosts took the lead in the 69th minute when Montpellier left-back Henri Bedimo inadvertently headed Mathias Autret's left-wing cross into his own goal.

On-loan Arsenal forward Joel Campbell doubled Lorient's advantage in the 77th minute, cutting in from the right flank and shaping a fine, left-footed strike inside the left-hand post.

Olivier Giroud brought Montpellier back into the game within seconds, deftly touching home a right-wing cross from Karim Ait-Fana to take his tally for the season to 20 goals, but the equaliser would not come.

Lorient had won just one of their previous 16 league games but the win put them two points clear of the relegation zone.

"We were playing our third match of the week and we lacked juice," said Montpellier coach Rene Girard.

"The players know they're the leaders and you can't ignore that. But you have to deal with it. We know it'll be complicated. There are big matches coming up and we have to make sure we don't ease up."

Champions Lille kept a firm grip on third place and closed to within seven points of top spot by beating Ajaccio 4-1.

After Yoann Poulard put through his own goal in the 16th minute to gift the hosts the lead, Lille pulled clear through further efforts from Joe Cole (his first league goal since December 21), substitute Gianni Bruno and Eden Hazard.

Frederic Sammaritano scored an injury-time consolation for Ajaccio.

Fourth-placed Lyon, beaten 1-0 by Marseille in Saturday's French League Cup final, are now six points behind Lille and visit sixth-placed Toulouse on Wednesday.

A crisp second-half strike by Bakary Sako brought Saint-Etienne a 2-1 win at home to Brest that lifted Les Verts to fifth and ended a run of four games without a win.

Bordeaux remain eighth after Benoit Tremoulinas' last-minute penalty rescued a 2-2 draw at Nancy and Evian are now a point behind in ninth after they romped to a 3-0 win at Valenciennes to record their fourth successive away win.

Sochaux gave their bid to avoid relegation a shot in the arm with a 1-0 win at home to Dijon that moved them level on points with fourth-bottom Caen.


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