February 23, 2012

PARIS (AP) -- Lille got back into the title race by defeating last-place Sochaux 1-0 Wednesday to pull within six points of leader Paris Saint-Germain in the French league.

Nolan Roux scored the winning goal by heading in a corner in the 76th minute, although Lille had a bit of luck in the closing minutes as a header from Sochaux substitute Cedric Bakambu hit the post.

"You always need a bit of luck to win matches,'' Lille coach Rudi Garcia said. "Sochaux got off to a better start but we managed to bend without cracking.''

Also Wednesday, Gabon forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notched a hat trick to lift Saint-Etienne past Lorient 4-2, and Caen beat Auxerre 2-1 to climb to the middle of the table.

Those three matches had been postponed earlier this month because of a cold snap.

PSG tops the standings, one point clear of Montpellier. Lille remained in third place and Saint-Etienne moved into fourth place.

A strong finish helped Saint-Etienne snatch victory.

Arnold Mvuemba initially put Lorient ahead by converting a penalty in the 49th after Saint-Etienne defender Sylvain Marchal had fouled Innocent Emeghara.

But Aubameyang leveled in the 56th by collecting a through ball from Laurent Batlles to beat goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.

Aubameyang headed in a cross from winger Bakary Sako to give Saint-Etienne the lead in the 68th before Lorient substitute Mathias Autret dribbled past goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier to equalize in the 76th.

Sako made it 3-2 with a low strike in the 88th and Aubameyang sealed the win in the 90th to raise his tally to 10 goals this season.

"We know what we want: to go as far as possible,'' Batlles said. "I'm happy for Aubameyang. When you can rely on such a player, that gives you prospects that are a bit higher.''

In Caen, forward Livio Nabab scored the winning goal with a low drive from the edge of the box in the 76th.

Auxerre winger Roy Contout converted a rebound in the 60th after goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux had stopped a free kick from Dariusz Dudka. But Caen substitute Kandia Traore leveled in the 71st with a diagonal shot.

"We had to go and get this victory,'' Nabab said. "We didn't expect to concede the goal. But no one gave up afterwards.''

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