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Montpellier opens door for PSG after Dijon draw

Montpellier opens door for PSG after Dijon draw

Montpellier opened the door for Paris Saint-Germain to reclaim first place in the French league when it drew 1-1 away to Dijon on Saturday.
Montpellier's slip means PSG can move one point ahead at the top if it beats Ajaccio at home on Sunday.
Without suspended top scorer Olivier Giroud and influential midfielder Younes Belhanda, Montpellier was indebted to Jonathan Tinhan's first ever goal for the club in the 88th minute. Winger Gael Kakuta had put Dijon ahead midway through the second half with his third league goal in five games since joining on loan from Chelsea in January.
Dijon opened the scoring when Eric Bautheac's shot hit the post and fell kindly to the feet of Kakuta, who later provided Bautheac with a great chance to make it 2-0 and also forced Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren into a superb reflex save with a firm shot.
Montpellier went close to equalizing when John Utaka's powerful long-range shot struck the post in the 75th, then Tinhan profited from sloppy marking in the Dijon defense to nip ahead of center half Abdoulaye Meite and head in Marco Estrada's free kick.
Eden Hazard scored in each half for Lille, but the defending champion threw away a 2-0 lead and drew 2-2 at home to Auxerre.
Both teams finished with 10 men, as Lille defender Mauro Cetto was shown a direct red card for hacking down striker Dennis Oliech in the 40th, and Auxerre forward Anthony Le Tallec also got a straight red for fouling midfielder Benoit Pedretti in the 66th.
Hazard continued his excellent scoring form with a free kick and a penalty, taking his tally to 11 league goals this season.
Hazard, who is being chased by European clubs, put Lille ahead when his free kick flew through the wall and beat goalkeeper Olivier Sorlin in the 34th. Hazard was fouled by defender Willy Boly in the 63rd, and converted the spot kick.
Sahar pulled one back for Auxerre in the 80th when he clipped in a cross from strike partner Oliech, and four minutes later defender Cedric Hengbart headed in Sahar's corner to make it 2-2.
Hazard almost completed his hat trick when his fiercely struck free kick flew just past the top left corner in the 87th.
A win for Lille would have consolidated third place with Saint-Etienne and Marseille both losing.
Marseille's hopes of securing a Champions League place next season suffered another blow as it lost 1-0 at home to Toulouse, and Saint-Etienne's fine recent form came to an end after a 2-0 home defeat to Evian.
Defender Aymen Abdennour headed the winning goal for Toulouse midway through the second half, while Cedric Mongongu and top scorer Yannick Sagbo got Evian's goals.
Lille trails Montpellier by seven points, but leads both Saint-Etienne and fifth-place Toulouse by four points. Marseille is eight points behind Lille in eighth place but coach Didier Deschamps' team has played a game less.
In other games, Nancy won 2-0 at home to Lyon, and Sochaux drew 1-1 against visiting Valenciennes.
Lyon dropped behind Toulouse and into sixth place after a fifth straight league match without a win. Defender Sebastien Puygrenier and striker Djamel Bakar got Nancy's goals.
Sochaux remains in last place but picked up a valuable point in its relegation scrap. Valenciennes defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin scored a late own goal after striker Gregory Pujol put the visitors ahead in the 69th.
Bordeaux faced Nice later Saturday.
Caen hosts Brest and Rennes travels to Lorient in Sunday's other games.