BEIRUT

Football

Last-gasp Gameiro keeps PSG top in Ligue 1

Guillaume Hoarau (R) and Kevin Gameiro of Paris St-Germain celebrate after scoring against Olympique Lyon during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at the Gerland stadium in Lyon February 25, 2012. (REUTERS/Robert Pratta)

PARIS: An injury-time winner from substitute Kevin Gameiro earned Paris Saint-Germain a narrow 2-1 victory at Dijon on Sunday that preserved their place at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

PSG had Mohamed Sissoko sent off prior to half-time and saw Siaka Tiene's opener cancelled out by Steven Paulle before Gameiro slotted home in the 91st minute after Jeremy Menez led a counter-attack from a Dijon corner.

Dijon upset PSG in the French League Cup in October and they had looked set to hurt them again, but Gameiro's goal means that Carlo Ancelotti's side will remain top even if second-placed Montpellier beat Caen in Sunday's late game.

PSG enjoyed the best of the first half, with Dijon goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet tested by both Javier Pastore and Menez, who also flashed a volley narrowly over the crossbar from Pastore's dinked pass.

Visiting goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu had to parry a volley from Benjamin Corgnet, however, and the momentum swung in the hosts' favour in the 41st minute when Sissoko was harshly shown a straight red card for a robust challenge on Eric Bautheac.

Despite the setback, PSG went ahead after just four minutes of the second half, with Guillaume Hoarau eluding Chaher Zarour near the byline on the left before crossing for Tiene to tap home his first goal for the club.

Pastore dragged a shot across goal and wide as PSG looked to extend their lead but in the 76th minute Dijon drew level and PSG's fragility at set-pieces was once again exposed.

A right-wing corner from on-loan Chelsea midfielder Gael Kakuta was flicked on at the near post and Paulle arrived unmarked to nod the ball into the net.

With PSG looking shaky in defence, Dijon made the mistake of over-committing men forward for an injury-time corner kick and Gameiro was the beneficiary, drilling the ball home from Menez's pass to claim only his second league goal in 2012.

Compounding Dijon's frustration was the knowledge that a point would have been enough to take them out of the relegation zone, whereas Gameiro's goal meant that they remained in the bottom three.

In Sunday's other early game, fifth-placed Rennes squandered a chance to put pressure on the teams in the Champions League qualifying berths as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Auxerre, who climbed off the foot of the table.

On Saturday, Lyon reignited their challenge for a top-three finish by winning 2-1 at third-placed Lille and closing to within four points of a Champions League place.

Fourth-placed Saint-Etienne were also able to capitalise on Lille's slip-up, coming from behind to win 2-1 at Valenciennes and moving to within a point of the defending champions.

 

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