Lens beats Saint-Etienne 1-0

BY foxsports • December 23, 2009

Lens edged Saint-Etienne 1-0 in stoppage time and moved closer to the middle of the table in the French league on Tuesday.

Eduardo converted a penalty kick in the 91st minute after Blaise Matuidi had fouled Toifilou Maoulida.

Lens jumped to 13th place with 26 points while stretching Saint-Etienne's winless streak to seven games. Saint-Etienne remained in 17th place with 16 points, one above the relegation zone.

"We won that match with our rage and will," Lens coach Jean-Guy Wallemme told Canal Plus television. "We knew it was the final straight and that we needed to hang tough and make the last effort before the (winter) break.

"We also knew it was a direct rival in regard to our goal of avoiding relegation. Therefore it was important today to take three points."

Bordeaux tops the standings with 40 points, eight clear of second-place Marseille, which has a game in hand.

Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Jeremie Janot had his hands full in the first half.

Janot stopped a header from Samba Sow and the rebound flicked goalward by Maoulida in the 8th before Ala-Eddine Yahia, facing an empty net, shot wide.

Lens midfielder Kanga Akale charged down the left flank in the 12th to cross the ball for Razak Boukari, who rose above the Saint-Etienne defense at the far post, but Janot palmed away Boukari's close-range header.

Two minutes later, Janot jumped to save a free kick from Yohan Demont that was heading toward the top corner.

Lens kept pushing, with Boukari squaring the ball back for Maoulida, unmarked near the penalty spot, but Janot blocked Maoulida's low shot with his right foot in the 31st.

Saint-Etienne raised its game in the second half, creating its first scoring chance in the 77th. Cedric Varrault beat Yahia to the ball but headed a cross from Gonzalo Bergessio over the bar.

Janot crouched in the 84th to save a header from Lens defender Eric Chelle, and Akale pounced on the loose ball only to fire over from six meters (yards).

On Wednesday, it's: Le Mans vs. Monaco, Lorient vs. Valenciennes, Lyon vs. Montpellier, Marseille vs. Auxerre, Nancy vs. Lille, Nice vs. Boulogne, Paris Saint-Germain vs. Grenoble, Sochaux vs. Rennes and Toulouse vs. Bordeaux.

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