Vol. 5 Num 1141 Tue. August 14, 2007  

Championnat De Football Professionnel
Pretenders fire blank

Title pretenders Lens and Paris St Germain did little to inspire faith in their own fans with a dire 0-0 draw on Sunday.

Lens, led by the legendary figure Guy Roux, and PSG, whose coach Paul Le Guen previously led Lyon to three successive titles, were believed to be among the hopefuls ready to wrest the championship trophy away from Lyon this season.

But both are still waiting for their first win following this uninspiring stalemate.

PSG dominated the first half creating a plethora of chances but Pegguy Luyindula wasted the best of them, dinking the ball over the bar under pressure from goalkeeper Vedran Runje.

It was a different story after the break as Lens's Nenad Kovacevic fired over from inside the area on 50 minutes.

The hosts' Kanga Akale came closest to breaking the deadlock in the last 10 minutes but he hit the bar from Abdoulrazak Boukari's pullback.

In the day's other match, Lille won for the first time this season, claiming a 2-1 success at newly promoted Metz.

In Saturday action, Johan Elmander gave Toulouse a welcome boost ahead of their crucial Champions League clash against Liverpool in midweek with a last-minute winner against Lyon.

Toulouse are embarking on their first ever season in Europe's premier competition and will host last season's finalists in the third qualifying round on Wednesday.

And Elmander's strike will see them in buoyant mood having quickly recovered from their opening day 3-1 defeat to Valenciennes a week ago.

"All week we worked on rediscovering our virtues, our desire, our solidarity, and that was the case this evening (Saturday)," said Toulouse coach Elie Baup, who was nevertheless worried that his team would struggle to recover from the match in time for Wednesday.

"It was very hot today," he added. "It won't be easy to play again in the same conditions on Wednesday."

Anyone hoping that this reverse may herald a changing of the guard in French football may be bitterly disappointed, though.

The six-in-a-row champions never gave anyone else a chance last season, almost wrapping up the title by Christmas, but this defeat owed much to the dismissal of Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom after just 34 minutes for stupidly spitting in the direction of the fourth official.

Until then Lyon had been the dominant force and there was nothing to suggest they will not canter to another French title again this season.

Lyon were left disappointed at coming so close to holding out for the point, but ultimately coming up short.

"It's tough when you play 10 against 11 for the whole match and you concede a goal at the end - it's really disappointing," said midfielder Mathieu Bodmer.

"Toulouse put a lot of physical pressure on us. We did what we could, we tried to earn a point but we didn't manage it."

Marseille remain winless and goalless despite the return of Samir Nasri after a second straight 0-0 draw, this time at home to Rennes.

Bordeaux - under new coach and former Manchester United, Barcelona, Marseille and Inter Milan centre-back Laurent Blanc - are the early high-flyers with six points from their two games having won 2-0 at Auxerre, although they had two Toifilou Maoulida penalty misses to thank for that win.

Nancy, who beat Caen 1-0, and Le Mans, who won 3-1 at Sochaux, also have a perfect six points from six.

St Etienne and Lorient follow in fourth and fifth places after victories over Valenciennes (3-1) and Monaco (2-1) respectively.

Nice secured their first points of the season as a late Vincent Hognon goal sunk 10-man Strasbourg.