LYON: Champions Lyon went to the top of the French first division on Friday after a last minute penalty earned them a 1-0 win against Strasbourg.
The game was heading for a draw despite Lyon being reduced to ten men after an hour until Strasbourg defender Fabrice Ehret had a mental aberration when he handled a cross from Florent Malouda in the 90th minute.
Peguy Luyindula stepped up to slot the inevitable spot kick into the right hand corner of Richard Dutruel's net to extend Strasbourg's winless run at the Stade Gerland to 23 years.
Lyon are level on 30 points with Monaco due to their better goal difference, with Strasbourg treading water in ninth.
Monaco will have the chance to resume control when they meet Lens on Saturday (yesterday).
Lyon had to play the last 20 minutes without Mikael Essien, the midfielder was sent off after picking up a second yellow card when he jumped for the ball and collided recklessly with Strasbourg defender Mamadou Niang.
Strasbourg however were unable to repeat their heroics of their 4-1 humbling of Marseille last month despite their numerical superiority.
Luyindula had had the best chance in the first half when he picked up a cross from the right from Sydney Govou and blasted it from directly in front of the Strasbourg goal only for the ball to ricochet off the crossbar and out of danger.
After the break Brazilian Giovanne Elber was fortunate to escape serious injury after a nasty clash of heads with Strasbourg's Vaclav Drobny but his wound did require extensive bandaging.
The former Bayern Munich striker then had an 85th minute close range goal disallowed for offside.
Five minutes later along came Ehret's intervention which earned him a red card for his second bookable offence.
Lyon coach Paul Le Guen meanwhile will have been mightily relieved Elber was able to soldier on with Tuesday's Champions League game against Anderlecht in mind.
Lyon, who are leading their qualifying group one point clear of Celtic with three games to go, should welcome back their France international keeper Gregory Coupet.
He had to sit out Friday's game after being hit in the abdomen in training and was replaced by Nicoals Puydebois. – AFP