Marseille win, Montpellier back top
Marseille registered their first win of the season against ten-man Evian, Montpellier regained top spot, while Lyon slipped up at Caen on an incident-packed night of Ligue 1 action.
The Stade Velodrome faithful have had very little to smile about this term with their 2010 champions and last season's runners-up hosting newcomers Evian without a win from their first six games. The pressure was piling up on France's highly-supported side and manager Didier Deschamps.
With only three points out of a maximum 18, Marseille went into the game embarrassingly occupying the foot of the table, their worst ever position at this juncture of the season.
Loic Remy went close to putting the out-of-sort giants into an 18th-minute lead, leaping over the Evian defence for a header which went wide.
Seven minutes later the 24-year-old striker was in the air again to head home a free-kick, hit from the right touchline by Mathieu Valbuena and this time there was no mistake as the ball flew past goalkeeper Stephan Andersen to settle the hosts' nerves.
Marseille were gaining in confidence with every kick, dominating their less illustrious guests who went into the break a man down after Guillaume Rippert was sent off in the 42nd minute, the defender picking up a second yellow for a foul on Valbuena.
Deschamps' men killed off the game when Remy scored his second, again a header, this time off a Valbuena corner, in the 74th minute.
The precious win lifted them on to six points, and Deschamps cut a contented figure afterwards. "The best pill in our situation is victory," Didier said. "This is our first win of the season, we have to appreciate it.
"It was essential to win tonight. We had at least a dozen chances, even if we scored on two set pieces. The fact that Evian were down to ten men helped us. This will give us a bit of serenity and confidence after some tough days."
Montpellier coasted to a 3-1 win at Ajaccio with first-half goals from Remy Cabella, Marco Estrada and Nigerian John Utaka. Mostefa Sbaa reduced the deficit in the second half, but the damage had been done.
Montpellier's fifth win of the campaign put them on 16 points, two clear of Lyon who went down 1-0 at Caen. Lille made life difficult for themselves after Hugo Lloris was sent off for felling Romain Hamouma, earning his second yellow two minutes from the interval.
Benjamin Nivet made no mistake with the resulting penalty to inflict the first defeat of the season on Lyon, for whom this was a disappointing follow-up after their 2-0 weekend win over Marseille.
Lyon coach Remi Garde said: "There wasn't much going on until the penalty and the red card. We had not begun to play, nor had Caen. As for Lloris, I'm upset for him, he misses our next game, but I'm lucky in having number two keeper Remi Vercoutre. I've got confidence in him."
Rennes routed Sochaux 6-2 to go second on goal difference, while Paris Saint-Germain, who were down to fifth after a draw with Evian last weekend, moved up a place after a nervy 2-1 win over Nice - both sides finishing with ten-men.
The Parisians took a 36th minute lead when Brazilian Nene scored from the spot for a penalty awarded after a foul by Drissa Diakite. Nice levelled on the hour again by a penalty converted by Luciano Monzon, with PSG bagging all three points with the third penalty of the encounter ten minutes later, taken by Kevin Gameiro.
PSG went down a man after a red card was handed out to Christophe Jallet and not to be outdone Nice also had a man sent off, their goalscorer Monzon four minutes from time.
Elsewhere there were 1-1 draws for Lorient and Auxerre and Nancy and Valenciennes, while Cercle Dijon beat Brest 1-0. Finally, Toulouse came away from their visit to Saint-Etienne with a 1-1 draw.