Montpellier held, Toulouse battle back
French league leaders Montpellier squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Brest on Saturday, while Toulouse battled back from 2-0 down to defeat Bordeaux 3-2 and move level on points at the top.
Reigning champions Lille, meanwhile, wasted an opportunity to draw level with the two leading clubs after twice surrendering the lead in a 2-2 draw with Sochaux. However, they were buoyed by another impressive display by English midfielder Joe Cole who shone in his first start.
Olivier Giroud scored both Montpellier goals in the first half, taking his season's tally up to four. However, Israeli striker Eden Ben Basat pulled one back in the 70th minute with Argentinian defender Santiago Juan Gentiletti stunning the leaders with a 88th-minute equaliser.
Brest held on for a point despite a last-minute red card for full-back Tripy Makonda. Toulouse have 13 points, but are second on goal difference to Montpellier, after recovering from a two-goal deficit at the interval against Bordeaux to win 3-2 through a last-minute strike from debutant Emmanuel Riviere.
But they did it the hard way, falling two goals down in the 38th minute thanks to a double strike by Cheikh Diabate. His first came in the 19th minute, came after being set-up by a fine cross by Benoit Tremoulinas before beating Ali Ahamada in the Toulouse goal. Serbian defender Pavle Ninkov then created Diabate's second in the 38th minute.
However, Toulouse were a side reborn after the interval with Franck Tabanou pulling one back from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute after Daniel Braaten had been brought down by Lamine Sane. Etienne Capoue levelled seven minutes later before Riviere scored a dramatic winner in the first minute of injury time.
"At half-time, we said we had nothing to fear and that everything was still in our hands," said Tabanou. "We took the three points, it was a great mental victory. All looks well for the rest of the championship."
Sochaux snatch draw
Benoit Pedretti headed Lille in front against Sochaux in the 49th minute before the champions had Mathieu Debuchy red-carded for a brutal tackle five minutes later.
Cedric Bakambu levelled in the 69th minute, but Eden Hazard's 78th-minute penalty seemed to put the champions on course for all three points. However, Sloan Privat's goal four minutes from time rescued a point for Sochaux.
Cole looked impressive for Lille on his first start, creating good chances for Hazard and Moussa Sow before he was taken off 15 minutes from time.
Paris Saint-Germain have the opportunity to move on to13 points if they defeat promoted Evian on Sunday, while Lyon can take top spot outright with a win over Marseille, who are just one point off the bottom.
Alarm bells were ringing loudly in the ears of Marseille coach Didier Deschamps after last weekend's home reverse to Rennes. But the feeling of impending crisis receded slightly after Lucho Gonzalez scored the only goal in Tuesday's morale-boosting UEFA Champions League win at Olympiacos.