Former Liverpool midfielder Bruno Cheyrou scored the only goal as unheralded Rennes beat Paris Saint Germain, 1-0, to move into second place in the French first division on Sunday. Cheyrou came off the bench to replace the injured Stephane Mbia and hit the winner on the stroke of half-time to extend Rennes' unbeaten run to 14 matches with their last defeat coming in August.
Rennes are five points behind leaders, and defending champions Lyon, with their victory allowing them to replace Marseille in second place. Marseille followed up their midweek UEFA Champions League elimination with a frustrating 0-0 Ligue 1 draw at Toulouse.
"I think we'll have to live with a draw, but we can live with it, because we were missing something in front of goal," Marseille boss Eric Gerets said. "We were well in the game in the last 10-12 minutes and we had a few chances, but in circumstances like that you need some success and unfortunately things didn't go for us at the end."
Marseille's Steve Mandana was the first goalkeeper to be called into action at Stade Municipal when he pushed away a header from Toulouse central midfielder Etienne Capoue after 15 minutes. Gerets' side came closest to breaking the deadlock when Mamadou Niang's close-range effort from Ronald Zubar's flick-on was kept out by Toulouse keeper Cedric Carrasso. Marseille's frustrations mounted as the game wore on, with Gerets introducing Mamadou Samassa and Mathieu Valbuena in place of Hatem Ben Arfa and Karim Ziani just before the hour in a bid to bolster his side's attacking. The visitors piled on the pressure in the game's closing stages, with Valbuena flashing a volley wide in the last minute of normal time, but Toulouse held firm.
Elsewhere, Saint Etienne brought a seven-game losing streak in the league to an end with a 2-1 victory at Nancy that fired them out of the relegation zone. The visitors took the lead after seven minutes when on-loan Portuguese midfielder Paulo Machado fired in a 30-yard free-kick that deceived home goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano. Three minutes before the break Les Verts made their first-half dominance count when David Gigliotti slotted home after Bracigliano had saved from France international striker Bafetimbi Gomis.
Things took a turn for the worse for the home side when Bracigliano was dismissed for fouling Gigliotti inside the penalty area in the 55th minute. But Gomis wasted the chance to make the game safe by putting his spot-kick wide. Nancy set up a nervy last 15 minutes when Issiar Dia got away from Blaise Matuidi before finishing neatly past Jeremie Janot. But it wasn't enough to prevent Alain Perrin from claiming his first win as Saint Etienne coach.
"I am happy for the players," Perrin said. "It's a reward for their hard work in training over the last fortnight. When you arrive with the intention of claiming a point but leave with all three, you have to be satisfied." Nice's game with Grenoble was postponed for the second day in a row after rainstorms hit the Cote d'Azur, leaving the club's pitch waterlogged.