Malonga cages Lyons to give the pack hope

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The French champions, Lyons, who are set to meet Manchester United in the first knock-out round of the Champions League at the beginning of February, take a four-point lead into the Christmas break after they were held to a 1-1 draw by their closest challengers, Nancy, at the weekend.

It looked like it would be seven points when the former Aston Villa and Liverpool striker Milan Baros put Lyons ahead as the team managed by the former Portsmouth manager Alain Perrin continue their quest for a seventh consecutive title. But Chris Malonga struck late on to give Nancy and the chasing pack hope of reeling in the champions in the new year.

In Germany, a leading politician has criticised athletes' "excessive" pay and singled out Bayern Munich, the country's richest football club. Norbert Lammert, the president of the German parliament, picked out Bayern's signing of the 18-year-old Brazilian defender Breno from São Paulo for €12.3m (8.1m). "All sense of proportion is lost, when the richest German club buys a Brazilian youth ... and equips him with an income that most family fathers can't earn with years of hard work," Lammert said.