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Bayern Munich hit Hamburg for NINE to continue procession to 23rd Bundesliga title

Majestic Bayern hit Hamburg for NINE to continue Bundesliga title procession

PUBLISHED:

20:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

Brutal Bayern Munich produced a nine-goal annihilation of Hamburg to move to within one win of wrapping up the Bundesliga title.

Bayern smashed their opponents 9-2 at the Allianz Arena with Claudio Pizarro scoring four times and Arjen Robben twice.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery were also on target for the rampant hosts, who led 5-0 at the break and refused to let up.

Four-some: Claudio Pizarro netted four times for the soon-to-be German champions

Four-some: Claudio Pizarro (centre) netted four times for the soon-to-be German champions

Sensational: Bayern dismantled their opponents with ease during tonight's nine goal drubbing

Sensational: Bayern dismantled their opponents with ease during tonight's nine goal drubbing

They did it all without leading scorer Mario Mandzukic, who was left on the bench ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final meeting with Juventus.

Hamburg's goals, from Jeffrey Bruma and Heiko Westermann, made it 8-1 and then 9-2 and did nothing to ease the misery.

The win moved Bayern 20 points clear of Borussia Dortmund with seven games to go and victory at Eintracht Frankfurt next Saturday will wrap up the title.

Dortmund kept Bayern waiting for another week at least by winning 2-1 at Stuttgart

Lukasz Piszczek gave Dortmund the lead in the 29th minute, but Alexandru Maxim's first Bundesliga goal brought the Swabians level before a red card to Georg Niedermeier tipped the scales back in Dortmund's favour.

Robert Lewandowski grabbed the winner eight minutes from time.

Bayer Leverkusen kept a strong hold on third with a 4-1 win at Fortuna Dusseldorf.

How many Arjen Robben scored two of the nine goals

How many Arjen Robben (right) scored two of the nine goals

Two goals apiece for Stefan Kiessling and Andre Schurrle ensured Leverkusen maintained a six-point cushion over Schalke.

The fifth goal in the game also came from a visiting player, Daniel Schwaab's own goal all Fortuna had to show for their efforts.

Schalke scored three times in the final 20 minutes to beat relegation-threatened Hoffenheim 3-0.

Marco Hoger broke the deadlock in the 71st minute before two substitutes, Raffael and Teemu Pukki, wrapped up the victory.

Mainz dropped three points behind Schalke as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen, despite going ahead after 12 seconds.

Adam Szalai gave Mainz a flying start, but Aaron Hunt earned Bremen a point.

Max Kruse scored twice as Freiburg moved ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach in the race for Europa League qualification with a 2-0 win.

Third-bottom Augsburg failed to improve their chances of avoiding the drop as they lost 2-0 at home to Hannover.

Konstantin Rausch scored both goals in the second half.

Saracens 19 Munster 13: Match report

Saracens 19 Munster 13: Farrell's boot edges Sarries closer to Heineken Cup qualification

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 16 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 16 December 2012

Owen Farrell edged the battle of the erratic goal-kickers as Saracens won a compelling contest against Munster at Vicarage Road to top Pool One of the Heineken Cup.

With two games remaining in the pool stage, Saracens hold a two-point advantage over Racing Metro and a three-point cushion over Munster who now have it all to do to remain in the competition.

Saracens were deserved winners, overcoming the loss of Will Fraser to the sin bin, but had to rely on 14 points from the boot of Farrell for their success.

Just bootiful: Owen Farrell was the difference for Saracens

Just bootiful: Owen Farrell was the difference for Saracens

Munster grabbed an interception try from Doug Howlett but failed to take advantage of Fraser's absence and two late misses from Ronan O'Gara cost them dearly.

The game began with a spark as the first ruck culminated in a heated melee between the packs, resulting in a warning being given to the captains.

The opening minutes were frenetic as both sides harried each other into mistakes. Saracens had the first sustained attack and the first scoring chance but Farrell's 25-metre drop-goal attempt sailed narrowly wide.

After eight minutes, Farrell was given another opportunity and this time he was on target with a long-range penalty.

A poor kick from Farrell, which went straight to Simon Zebo, gave Munster their first chance to counter-attack. O'Gara produced an exquisite chip over the top for Zebo to collect but a knock-on by hooker Mike Sherry prevented the move from developing.

On the charge: Schalk Brits of Saracens is tackled by Peter O'Mahoney

On the charge: Schalk Brits of Saracens is tackled by Peter O'Mahoney

Saracens conceded a penalty at the resulting scrum but O'Gara fired wide, however moments later the outside-half made no mistake with his second effort after Farrell had been penalised for not releasing.

Munster suffered a setback when full-back Felix Jones limped off, to be replaced by Luke O'Dea, but although Saracens had marginally the better of the first quarter it was still 3-3 at the end of it.

However after 22 minutes, the hosts scored the opening try when Farrell's clever chip through saw David Strettle easily win the race for the touchdown which Farrell converted.

Back came Munster to tie up the scores. Farrell's loose pass on half-way was intercepted by James Downey, and although the centre was caught by Strettle he got the ball away to Howlett who scored for O'Gara to convert.

Mixed emotions: Saracens pack celebrate winnning a late scrum as the dejected Munster forwards look on

Mixed emotions: Saracens pack celebrate winnning a late scrum as the dejected Munster forwards look on

Saracens continued to dominate in terms of possession and territory but they could not make it count at that stage.

Strettle was hauled down just short of the line and Farrell missed a penalty so it remained at 10-10 at the interval.

When O'Dea fumbled an up-an-under early in the second half, it allowed Saracens a position in the visitors 22. Munster were penalised but again Farrell could not take advantage.

Against the run of play, O'Gara put his aside ahead with a penalty after Downey nailed his former Northampton colleague Chris Ashton, who was penalised for not releasing.
Farrell responded with a simple penalty after Munster offended at a scrum and minutes later kicked another to give Saracens a 16-13 lead going into the final quarter.

Saracens suffered a huge blow when Will Fraser was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Howlett.

Munster immediately piled on the pressure for their best period of the match but O'Gara's drop goal and penalty attempts both missed the target.

Saracens survived the onslaught and it was left to Farrell to seal a crucial victory with a penalty four minutes from time.

Lewis Hamilton on pole in Brazil

Hamilton in line for big finish after securing pole for Brazilian Grand Prix

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UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 24 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton gave McLaren their first pole position in Brazil for 12 years ahead of his final grand prix for the Woking-based team.

With Jenson Button alongside him, the duo combined to give McLaren their 62nd front-row lock-out as they left championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso trailing in their wake.

Vettel, who has a 13-point cushion over Alonso, will line up fourth as even Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber managed to qualify ahead of him, whilst Alonso is a disastrous eighth in his Ferrari.

Pole position: Lewis Hamilton (centre) starts ahead of Jenson Button (right) and Mark Webber

Pole position: Lewis Hamilton (centre) starts ahead of Jenson Button (right) and Mark Webber

Hamilton is currently on a high at the end of his 14-year association with McLaren before joining Mercedes on a three-season contract from next year after winning in the United States last week.

Hamilton, yet to win in Brazil, was again brilliant as he posted a time of one minute 12.458secs for the undulating Interlagos circuit.

The 27-year-old edged team-mate Button by 0.055secs, with Webber then ahead of Vettel by almost two tenths of a second.

Felipe Massa lines up fifth in his Ferrari, followed by the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg in his Force India, and then Alonso.

Maldonado, however, missed a weighbridge session at the end of Q1, and could yet be penalised by the stewards, so potentially promoting Alonso at least one place.

Centre stage: Hamilton left Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in the shadows

Centre stage: Hamilton left Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in the shadows

The fifth row of the grid sees Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen alongside Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes.

A heavy rain shower 35 minutes prior to the start which lasted for around five minutes caused some consternation, and threatened to turn the grid on its head.

But with air temperatures of 24 degrees, the track was relatively dry an hour later come the start of the second session, which made for a straightforward programme.

Come the end of the middle 15-minute period, hopes for Force India's Paul di Resta of making the top 10 were dashed as the Scot will line up 11th after missing the cut by 0.073secs.

Di Resta starts ahead of Williams' Bruno Senna and Sergio Perez on his last outing for Sauber before joining McLaren, with Michael Schumacher 14th at the end of his final qualifying run in F1 and for Mercedes ahead of retiring for a second time.

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, without a seat for next season after the team announced Esteban Gutierrez is to step up, starts 15th ahead of Toro Rosso pairing Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Nobody faster: Hamilton secured his first pole position at Interlagos with a fine performance

Nobody faster: Hamilton secured his first pole position at Interlagos with a fine performance

The worst of the conditions were at the start of Q1, throughout which a dry line eventually materialised and the lap times tumbled.

With his future on the line, as he has yet to be confirmed for 2013, Lotus' Romain Grosjean made a critical mistake by clipping the back of the HRT of Pedro de la Rosa, resulting in him losing his front wing, and a stewards' investigation.

Although the Frenchman was able to return to the pits for a new nose and post one final quick lap, it was not enough to lift him out of the bottom seven for the first time this season.

'He (De la Rosa) didn't see me and there was no space to squeeze between him and the wall,' said Grosjean.

'It's a disaster for tomorrow because we have a very good car.'

It means Grosjean will start 18th ahead of Caterham duo Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen, both fighting for the one remaining seat with the team after Charles Pic was confirmed yesterday.

Big finish: Lewis Hamilton starts on pole for the final race of the season and his last with McLaren

Big finish: Lewis Hamilton starts on pole for the final race of the season and his last with McLaren

On his final outing for Marussia, Pic was out-qualified by team-mate Timo Glock, the duo starting 21st and 22nd ahead of the HRTs on the back row, with Narain Karthikeyan in front of De la Rosa.

Hamilton is now looking to end his McLaren days on a high following the 26th pole position of his career, and his first in Brazil.

'It's been a good weekend so far, and I'm grateful to be able to put the car on the front row,' said Hamilton.

'To have a one, two with Jenson, that's a fantastic job by the team, I'm grateful for all the opportunities the team have given me, and hopefully we can turn it into a positive.

'The weather is going to be tricky tomorrow (with rain forecast), so it's going to make it more of a lottery.

Pushing hard: Jenson Button also starts on the front row alongside team-mate Hamilton

Pushing hard: Jenson Button also starts on the front row alongside team-mate Hamilton

'But we've put ourselves in a good position, we'll work together as a team, and we'll make sure we do absolutely everything to get the top result.'

Button hinted it to be a shame his partnership is ending with fellow Briton Hamilton as he said: 'I'm very happy to be on the front row because my last couple of qualifyings have been a bit tricky.

'To both be on the front row for Lewis' last grand prix with the team…the team is in great shape, and it's a pity things have to change, but things do change.'

Webber, with Vettel right behind him, refused to concede whether he will play any role in helping the 25-year-old German.

The Australian said: 'We focus on ourselves and do the cleanest race we can. I'll be focusing on my effort in the cockpit given there will be some tricky conditions.'

Ferrari boss hails Fernando Alonso after European Grand Prix victory in Valencia

Ferrari boss hails 'extraordinary' Alonso after storming European Grand Prix victory

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UPDATED:

10:21 GMT, 25 June 2012

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has hailed Fernando Alonso as 'extraordinary' following his emotional European Grand Prix victory.

Alonso was reduced to tears after securing his 19th Formula One win, a triumph he suggested was the best of his career.

On home soil and with Spanish flags flying around the Valencia Street Circuit, Alonso took the overwhelming acclaim of the crowd as he stood first on his Ferrari and then on the podium.

Out in front: Home favourite Fernando Alonso sets the pace in Valencia

Out in front: Home favourite Fernando Alonso sets the pace in Valencia

Even the marshals could not help but bow down and offer thanks to their hero on a near-perfect day for Alonso as title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel failed to finish.

With Alonso becoming the first driver to win two races this year, and with a 20-point cushion over the chasing pack, Di Montezemolo could not help but also be overwhelmed.

'This is Ferrari at its very best, the one everyone wants to see,' said Di Montezemolo. 'Fernando was extraordinary, and it's hard to find the words to describe his race which has shown the spirit of a team that never gives up.'

Alonso's victory was all the more poignant given he dedicated it to the people of Spain gripped by a savage economic crisis.

Home hero: Fernando Alonso celebrates after winning the European Grand Prix in Valencia

Home hero: Fernando Alonso celebrates after winning the European Grand Prix in Valencia

In that respect, Di Montezemolo offered up his own dedication, to those in Emilia Romagna where two earthquakes struck nine days apart at the end of last month, killing 26.

Di Montezemolo added: 'The win also reflects the spirit of our homeland in Emilia Romagna where so many people are going through a particularly difficult time after the earthquake a few weeks back.

'Let's hope this victory will at least have put a smile on their faces.'

Alonso's success was all the more remarkable given he started from 11th on the grid, and at a circuit that had offered precious little excitement in four previous races.

Leader of the pack: Fernando Alonso fought from 11th on the grid to win the European Grand Prix

Leader of the pack: Fernando Alonso fought from 11th on the grid to win the European Grand Prix

Sunday's event, however, was action-packed, with Alonso on top of his game, but with team principal Stefano Domenicali knowing more needs to be done to improve.

Domenicali said: 'Fernando was spectacular in terms of showing aggression and in the way he managed the car and tyres.

'We could tell this weekend felt very special to him and the win was really emotional for him and the whole team.

'We saw that some of our competitors had reliability problems and it serves as a reminder that this aspect is crucial for success.

'In such a closely-matched season, a no-score carries a high price in the classification, but these 25 points will definitely not go to our heads.

'We are well aware how things can change in the blink of an eye and we must continue to work on improving the car's performance, because it is still not at the level we want.'

London 2012 Games: Gold medal hope Ainslie enjoys perfect warm up

Gold medal hope Ainslie enjoys perfect warm up to summer Games

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UPDATED:

18:31 GMT, 17 May 2012

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie is on the cusp of a record-breaking sixth Finn world title in Cornwall.

The 35-year-old won all three of Thursday's races at the J.P. Asset Management Finn Gold Cup to open up a 20-point cushion heading into Friday's medal race on the south coast.

Surfs up: Ben Ainslie crashes through the waves during the Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth

Surfs up: Ben Ainslie crashes through the waves during the Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth

Ainslie only needs to start and finish the race to secure a sixth Finn world championship – three more than any other sailor – putting him in a strong position to secure Olympic gold this summer.

'It was a great day,' he said. 'It was unbelievable sailing, some of the best I have ever experienced.

'It was at 25 to 30 knots of wind, massive waves so it was a really good test for everyone and a great day's sailing.

Delighted: Ainslie returns to the dock

Delighted: Ainslie returns to the dock

'It was pretty extreme. It is not often we race in conditions like that so it was great.

'I think there will be a lot of tired sailors but I think most people had a smile on their face most of the time.'

Having seen sailing cancelled yesterday due to strong winds, the Finn fleet had to deal with testing conditions on the south coast.

Ainslie won the day's first race with a storming finish, before capitalising on Skandia Team GBR team-mate Ed Wright capsizing when leading the second race.

He then went onto win the final race of the day, with results meaning Ainslie and Wright are guaranteed to finish in the top two.

This year will be the third successive Finn Gold Cup victory by a British sailor – following Wright and Giles Scott last year – but Ainslie is focused fully on this summer's Olympics.

'It has been a good week and this event is important but really the main focus this year is the Olympics coming up,' he said.

'It is good with that in mind but of course it is a great achievement to win a Finn Gold Cup.

Ben Ainslie returns to the dock

Ben Ainslie returns to the dock

'There is still a long way to go and this fleet is very tight. There are a lot of good sailors so I've still got to keep pushing and making improvements.

'Obviously I am very happy with the way this week has gone.'

Gold Cup victory will cap a great week for Ainslie, who kicks off the Olympic torch relay in his home county of Cornwall on Saturday.

'That will be very special,' he added.

'That will be great for Cornwall and great for the country to have the Olympic flame here.

'As for me, I just hope I have enough energy to make it 200 metres down the road.'

Wenger urges Gunners to hold their nerve in race for Champions League

Wenger urges Gunners to hold their nerve in race for the Champions League

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UPDATED:

10:48 GMT, 11 April 2012

Arsene Wenger has urged his Arsenal players to forget about their rivals and roar to victory in all their remaining games.

The Gunners head to Molineux tonight to take on beleaguered Wolves where victory could open up a five-point gap on arch rivals Spurs in the race for the Champions League.

That would represent a sizeable cushion – but Wenger has urged his troops to kill off any challengers by securing a maximum haul from their final five matches.

Final countdown: Victory tonight could give the Gunners a five-point cushion

Final countdown: Victory tonight could give the Gunners a five-point cushion

He said: 'The only target we know we can do is if we get our resources together for the next game. That is the only way to do it.

'You don't know what the others will do, so let's just win our games.”

The Frenchman also slammed pundits who have been scouring the run-ins of Arsenal, Tottenham, fifth-placed Newcastle and sixth-placed Chelsea to try to glean where points may be won and lost.

Maximum target: Arsene Wenger has told his players to win all their remaining games

Maximum target: Arsene Wenger has told his players to win all their remaining games

Some have suggested that victory tonight would allow his men to lose two of their remaining fixtures and still walk away with the coveted prize.

But Wenger said: 'For some people these predictions are their job.

'Believe me, they don't know much better than you or me and the result of every game is just a consequence of your performance on the day.

Gunning for Europe: Mikel Arteta's stunning strike gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over Manchester City

Gunning for Europe: Mikel Arteta's stunning strike gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over Manchester City

'Nobody can really predict that because your performance on the day depends on you, but also depends on the other team as well. To predict both is nearly impossible.

'You can have an idea but football has surprised us so many times, especially recently in the last two or three months.'

He added: 'Let's not anticipate, that is something else that is important.

The chase is on: But Laurent Koscielny will miss the next two games

The chase is on: But Laurent Koscielny will miss the next two games

'When it gets to the last sprint, focus
on the next game becomes the most important part because you are always
tempted to anticipate.'

Arsenal fans were certainly anticipating victory in their last away game at QPR but they were given another rude awakening when their six-match winning streak came to a shuddering halt.

That was the first ever league defeat for the Gunners while playing a back four made up of Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs.

Koscielny will be missing for the next two games after picking up a two-match ban for his 10th yellow card of the season.

Wenger confirmed Johan Djourou would deputise tonight and backed the Switzerland star to fill the void.

He said: 'Djourou has done well recently when he came in. He will come in again on Wednesday night and I am confident.'

Wenger also questioned Koscielny's punishment after he failed to make the yellow card amnesty by a matter of hours.

'As we understand the situation, with a red card he would have been less suspended than with one yellow,' he said.

'It is not completely logical but we have to take it on board and he will be suspended for the next two games.'

Leicester 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Snore draw

Leicester 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Snore draw all but ends Foxes promotion hopes

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 27 March 2012

The east midlands honours were even at the King Power Stadium in a goalless stalemate which does more for Nottingham Forest's npower Championship survival hopes than it does for Leicester's fading play-off aspirations.

Leicester, who would have moved within two points of the top six with victory, dominated the first half without making a breakthrough as Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp denied Sol Bamba and Ben Marshall.

Chances were few and far between in the second half. The closest either side came to a goal was when Adlene Guedioura's header clipped the top of the Leicester crossbar with 15 minutes remaining.

Scrappy: The east Midlands derby failed to match the hype

Scrappy: The east Midlands derby failed to match the hype

MATCH FACTS

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Bamba, St Ledger, Konchesky, Dyer (Howard 78), Drinkwater, Marshall, Morgan, Beckford, Nugent (Schlupp 64). Subs Not Used: King, Kennedy, Moore.

Booked: Drinkwater.

Nottm Forest: Camp, Wootton, Cunningham, Chambers, Reid (Higginbotham 90), Gunter, Moussi, Guedioura, Majewski (Tudgay 68), Blackstock, Lynch. Subs Not Used: Smith, Miller, McGugan.

Booked: Wootton.

Attendance: 23,412

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).

The draw gives Forest a five-point cushion above the relegation zone.

Both sides made one enforced change from the weekend. Centre-half Bamba capably filled the spot in the Leicester midfield vacated by the suspended Neil Danns while Forest lost in-form winger Garath McCleary to a hamstring injury, meaning Chris Gunter played on the right and Scott Wootton came into the defence.

The first real chance came Forest's way after 11 minutes. Gunter's cross was just too high for Dexter Blackstock but a half clearance fell to Guedioura, who skipped past one man before his low shot from the left-hand side was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Soon afterwards Bamba worked Camp at the other end with a 20-yard volley, the technique befitting of a centre-forward rather than a centre-half.

Forest full-back Greg Cunningham saw a goalbound shot from the left side of the box hacked away from on the six-yard line when Schmeichel was beaten.

Marshall scored his first league goal for Leicester against Hull on Saturday and the winger would have had his second midway through the first half had Camp not got fingertips to his 25-yard shot.

Scramble: Kasper Schmeichel

Scramble: Kasper Schmeichel

Leicester produced the move of the match in the 34th minute. Bamba got the home fans on their feet, winning successive 50-50 challenges against Blackstock and Guy Moussi in the centre of midfield before marauding goalwards.

The Ivory Coast international played the ball out to the left to Jermaine Beckford who put Lloyd Dyer through but his low shot whistled narrowly wide.

Gunter and Radoslaw Majewski threatened for Forest either side of half-time but neither really troubled Schmeichel.

Both sides struggled to create openings after the break.

Guedioura came closest to a goal after 75 minutes when his glancing header from Andy Reid's inswinging free-kick skimmed the bar.

Forest captain Luke Chambers looped a header on to the roof of the net from another Reid cross soon afterwards in the only other chance of note in the second half.

Carlo Ancelotti enjoys winning start at Paris Saint Germain

Winning start for ex-Chelsea boss Ancelotti as PSG extend lead at top

Carlo Ancelotti got his Ligue 1 career off to a winning start as his Paris St Germain side cruised to a 3-1 victory over Toulouse.

The former AC Milan and Chelsea manager, who was appointed as PSG's new boss over Christmas despite the club sitting pretty at the top of the table, oversaw the Coupe de France win over Saint-Colomban last weekend, but this was his first taste of league action.

And it was a positive one too, with Nene scoring either side of Javier Pastore's 67th-minute goal at the Parc des Princes, ensuring PSG's three-point cushion over Montpellier – who beat Lyon 1-0- remained. Daniel Braaten pulled one back two minutes from time.

Winning start: Carlo Ancelotti was a happy man after PSG eased to victory against Toulouse

Winning start: Carlo Ancelotti was a happy man after PSG eased to victory against Toulouse

Montpellier kept the pressure on PSG by edging out fellow title hopefuls Lyon as Olivier Giroud took advantage of some poor defending to score in the 62nd minute.

Matt Fortune

Rennes continued their challenge near the top of the table with a 2-1 win at Caen, Jires Ekoko and Victor Hugo Montano getting the goals that put their side level on points with Lyon.

Kurt Zouma scored in the 78th minute as St Etienne maintained their push for European football with a 1-0 win over relegation-battling Sochaux.
Bottom side Ajaccio secured a fourth straight win in all competitions with a 2-1 win over Auxerre in a stormy meeting which ended with just 19 men on the pitch.

Va va voom: Javier Pastore (R) of celebrates with PSG teammate Nene (L) after scoring

Va va voom: Javier Pastore (R) of celebrates with PSG teammate Nene (L) after scoring

Dennis Oliech had given Laurent Fournier's Auxerre a 13th-minute lead, but their hopes of a first away win of the season were hamstrung by Anthony Le Tallec's sending off nine minutes later.

Eduardo quickly equalised and Fousseni Diawara put the hosts ahead, before they had Samuel Bouhours and Arnaud Maire sent off in a fiery end to the first half. The second period was more subdued.

The dismissal of Eric Tie Bi proved the key moment as Evian slipped to a 3-1 loss at Dijon.

Substitute Tie Bi had only been on the pitch eight minutes when he was dismissed in the 19th minute, and Dijon took advantage by taking the lead through Benjamin Corgnet three minutes before the break.

Brice Jovial's second-half brace killed the game off before Yannick Sagbo pulled one back 14 minutes from the end.

Rub of the green: Kurt Zouma (L) celebrates his goal for Saint-Etienne

Rub of the green: Kurt Zouma (L) celebrates his goal for Saint-Etienne

Nancy and Lorient drew 2-2, Benjamin Moukandjo Bile and Salif Sane scoring for the hosts, with Mathieu Coutadeur and on-loan Arsenal striker Joel Campbell netting for Lorient.

Bordeaux saw off Valenciennes 2-1 with first-half goals from Jussie and Nicolas Maurice-Belay.

Foued Kadir pulled one back for the visitors, who also had Nicolas Mirin sent off.

Eden Ben Basat scored the only goal after five minutes as Brest claimed a 1-0 win over Nice, who twice hit the woodwork.