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Football: Honours even in Lyon St Etienne derby


Lyon maintained their two point advantage over fourth-placed Saint-Etienne on Sunday as they fought out a 1-1 draw in a typically hotly contested derby.

Lyon's playmaker Yoann Gourcuff grabbed a share of the spoils with the equaliser in the 55th minute in what was as usual a high voltage affair with the game being held up for a number of minutes as both sets of supporters fought with each other.

Kurt Zouma had given the recently-crowned League Cup winners the lead in the 29th minute and but for glaring misses by their strike duo Brandao and Gabonese international Pierre Emerick Aubameyang they would have run out convincing winners.

Saint-Etienne remain unbeaten in the League this year but face tough away trips to second-placed Marseille and Lille before season's end as they try to chase down the third and final Champions League spot.

"If we had lost, we would have dropped five points (behind Lyon). After this we are still just two points adrift," was the philosophical verdict of Saint-Etienne boss Christophe Galtier.

His Lyon counterpart Remi Garde was also measured in his reaction to the stalemate.

"Of course when you only draw at home against another contender, it's not a good thing, (but) we are still ahead of Saint-Etienne with our destiny still in our hands. That's important as well," said Garde.

Elsewhere, Nice kept themselves firmly in contention for European football next term with a 3-1 victory over beleaguered Troyes.

Mohamed Yattara struck first for visiting Troyes but Nice replied through Renato Civelli before Dario Cvitanich put the home side in front on the stroke of half-time with his 15th goal of the campaign.

Luigi Bruins added some insurance with a third 13 minutes from time as Nice moved level with fifth-placed Lille on 57 points, one shy of Saint-Etienne, while defeat for Troyes left them bottom, six points from safety with just four games remaining.

Later on Sunday, leaders Paris Saint Germain will look to restore their nine-point lead over Marseille when they play relegation-threatened Evian, who eliminated them from the French Cup quarter-finals earlier this month.