France: PSG fails to take advantage of Montpellier's loss
PARIS (AP) -- Paris Saint-Germain failed to take advantage of a defeat for French title rival Montpellier on Sunday as it conceded a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at last-place Auxerre on Sunday.
PSG has drawn three and lost one if its last five league games and is two points behind Montpellier with six games remaining. Montpellier had earlier slipped to a 2-1 defeat at struggling Lorient.
Brazilian winger Nene gave PSG the lead midway through the first half, but then missed a great chance to make it 2-0 in the second half. PSG paid the price as its frailty was once again exposed when substitute Anthony Le Tallec scored in the 87th minute after goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu had spilled a tame shot into his path.
Earlier, Olivier Giroud's 20th league goal of the season failed to save Montpellier.
Lorient went ahead midway through the second half when Montpellier defender Henri Bedimo turned winger Jeremie Aliadiere's header into his own net. Lorient forward Joel Campell made it 2-0 in the 77th minute, cutting in from the right of the penalty area and beating goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren with a firm shot.
Giroud pulled a goal back a minute later, clipping in Karim Ait-Fana's cross from the right, but the Breton club held on to move out of the relegation zone.
"We know it's going to be hard, we have some tough games coming up and we have to hang in there,'' Montpellier coach Rene Girard said. "We were playing our third game in a week, and didn't have any energy left. We didn't play that well and gave the ball away carelessly.
"We had our chances in the first half through Olivier, John (Utaka) and Younes (Belhanda) but we couldn't put them away."`
Elsewhere, ?32 million-rated winger Eden Hazard scored his 15th goal of the season as Lille crushed Ajaccio 4-1 to consolidate third place.
"If we win our remaining matches we're sure to finish third, and with a bit of luck we can get that second place,'' Lille coach Rudi Garcia said. "For the moment we're a bit too far back.''
The 21-year-old Hazard capped another fine performance with a late penalty, having set up forward Gianni Bruno in the 81st minute - the 12th assist of a fruitful season that has alerted major interest in Hazard from England's biggest clubs.
Hazard was only denied more goals because of some inspired goalkeeping from Mexico No. 1 Guillermo Ochoa, who kept out his freekick from around 30 yards (meters) and denied him again in a frantic first half.
Lille took en early lead when defender Yoann Poulard scored an own goal and midfielder Joe Cole, who is on loan from Liverpool, made it 2-0 in the 37th with a low shot past Ochoa.
Frederic Sammaritano pulled a goal back in injury time for the Corsican strugglers, who dropped back into the relegation zone.
In Sunday's other results, it was: Nancy 2, Bordeaux 2; Saint-Etienne 2, Brest 1; Sochaux 1, Dijon 0, and Valenciennes 0, Evian 3.
Fifth-place Saint-Etienne kept up its bid for a Europa League spot thanks to goals from Max-Alain Gradel and Bakary Sako.
Mali forward Modibo Maiga scored for the fourth consecutive game to give 18th-place Sochaux hope in its relegation battle.
Rennes hosts Nice on Monday, and there are two games on Wednesday, when League Cup winner Marseille takes on Caen, and Toulouse plays Lyon.
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