Lyon and Paris Saint Germain suffered surprise results in France's top flight on Sunday. The 2009/10 Ligue 1 runners-up drew with bottom side Arles while PSG lost at home to struggling Auxerre.
Lyon may have won all three of their UEFA Champions League matches this season but they were unable to conquer an Arles side who had, prior to the match, secured just one point from their opening nine matches. Coach Claude Puel sat uncomfortably in his hotseat as he watched a 1-1 draw in rain-drenched conditions at Arles's modest Avignon home. "We were very tired. It's annoying as we had the chance to get the three points," said the Lyon coach.
Fans gave the apparent no-hopers a standing ovation after they had secured a deserved point. It could have been more after Dja Djedje's 36th-minute chip put the hosts ahead but two minutes after the restart Jimmy Briand sent home a bullet header from a Miralem Pjanic corner.
Even that could not prevent discord among Lyon fans aghast at just three league wins so far this season. Lyon, seven league titles in a row before Bordeaux broke their sequence in 2009, are now 14th in the table, seven points behind surprise leaders Rennes.
Defending champions Marseille moved within a point of Ligue 1 leaders Rennes tonight after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Lille. The home side went ahead through Yohan Cabaye after 26 minutes but three second-half strikes saw Didier Deschamps' men cruise to a deserved victory. France striker Loic Remy levelled matters after 53 minutes, Lucho Gonzalez put Marseille ahead 18 minutes later and Remy completed the scoring with his second of the game late on.
"We could hardly have played worse than we did in the first half," said Marseille coach Didier Deschamps. "But with a bit more aggression and by keeping things simple we managed to dig ourselves out," he told Canal+.
PSG, who have not won a league title since 1994, are only three points off the top three. However, they also left their supporters decidedly unimpressed today after squandering an early lead in a 3-2 loss at the Parc des Princes against Auxerre. Nene bagged the Parisians the fastest goal of the French season after just 50 seconds off a pass from Ludovic Giuly. But the promising start then evaporated as Auxerre levelled two minutes later through Jean-Pascal Mignot and then Roy Contout put the visitors ahead with barely 10 minutes on the clock. Julien Quercia netted for 3-1 after 24 minutes and although PSG pressed thereafter all they could manage in reply was a Nene penalty midway through the second half as Auxerre moved out of the bottom five while PSG sit sixth.
Brest shocked Bordeaux 2-0 away on Saturday with Romain Poyet and Benoit Lesoimier on target. Rennes, top for the past two weeks for the first time since 1970, were unable to keep their fine form going after Joris Marveaux notched the only goal for Montpellier. The goal meant heartache for Marveaux's brother Sylvain, starring in the Rennes ranks. A hard-fought game boiled over twice after the break as first the visitors had Garry Bokaly sent off and then Rennes also went down to 10 men after a late dismissal for skipper Kader Mangane.
Like Rennes, St Etienne suffered a setback and had to scramble to rescue a point while failing to win for the third straight game. Emmanuel Riviere's late effort cancelled out Caen's opener from Youssef El-Arabi in a 1-1 draw.
Elsewhere, Valenciennes won 2-0 at Monaco to push the principality side into the bottom four and Toulouse won 3-1 at Sochaux to climb to joint fourth with Montpellier on 17 points.