French Ligue 1

Marseille fail to return to top

May 1, 2011

Marseille missed out on the chance to return to the top of Ligue 1 on Sunday - but third-placed Lyon were unable to take advantage in the race for a Champions League spot.

Mathieu Valbuena scores for Marseille
GettyImagesMathieu Valbuena scores for Marseille

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OM were on course for the summit after Mathieu Valbuena put them 1-0 up against Auxerre early in the second half - but they were forced to settle for a point after Jung Jo-gook's 77th-minute equaliser and they trail leaders Lille by a point.

That gave Lyon the chance to move within three points of second place with a win at Toulouse - but they went down 2-0 and had two men sent off.

Mauro Cetto headed the opener before Michel Bastos was sent off after collecting two yellow cards in the space of a minute. Left-back Aly Cissokho then took centre stage in Lyon's implosion, slicing an attempted clearance over his own goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to gift the hosts their second goal before picking up a straight red card late on for a wild lunge at Daniel Braaten.

At the other end of the table, Caen boosted their survival hopes as a thumping 4-0 victory at 10-man Nice lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Romain Hamouma put the visitors ahead after 34 minutes and Yohan Mollo doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time with a free-kick after Renato Civelli was sent off. Hamouma and Youssef El Arabi were on target in the final two minutes to add further gloss to the scoreline and lift Caen above their hosts, who had started the day in 14th, on goal difference.

Montpellier's chances of qualifying for European football next season suffered a dent as they were held to a goalless stalemate against Brest. Marco Estrada's late long-range strike for the hosts was chalked off after the referee blew for an infringement, depriving the game of a rare moment of brilliance.

Monaco edged clear of the Ligue 1 relegation zone with a battling point on the road at St Etienne. Dimitri Payet fired the hosts ahead after 11 minutes but the principality club levelled on the half-hour when Georgie Welcome fired home.

The visitors then held on for a valuable 1-1 draw despite playing the last 30 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Layvin Kurzawa. The draw moves Monaco to 14th, but they are just one point above the bottom three. St Etienne stay in ninth.