Marseille climb with Nancy win
Marseille provisionally broke into the top five in Ligue 1 after a 3-1 win at Nancy, closing the gap on leaders Montpellier and Paris Saint-Germain to six points.
Didier Deschamps' side, made a poor start to the season, however, have recently hit their stride to secure a sixth win in their last eight league games. Mathieu Valbuena gave the 2010 champions an 18th-minute lead with a low drive after an interchange with Loic Remy.
But Nancy, struggling to keep out of the bottom five with only one win in ten home outings, levelled through Reynald Lemaitre, who bundled in from close range eight minutes before the break to rouse the crowd at the Stade Marcel-Picot.
The home faithful's hopes were dashed, however, when just four minutes later Cameroon star Stephane Mbia headed home a tailor-made cross from Morgan Amalfitano. Marseille were turning the screw and after having an effort ruled out for offside it fell to Lucho Gonzalez, set up by Valbuena, to complete the win with a near post finish at the death.
"We have slightly righted the ship," Marseille coach Deschamps said. "Our bad streak in August and September is the difference between us and those ahead of us. However, since mid-October we have more or less taken the points we required, but we can't go back over the beginning of the season. We have often had our backs against the wall, and the team has always responded."
On Wednesday, Montpellier, Paris Saint-Germain, Lille and Lyon will all be out, vying to end the year on top in the final round of fixtures before the winter break. PSG were prevented from returning to the summit after being held to a 0-0 draw by Lille on Sunday, which left them below Montpellier on goal difference, while defending champions Lille and Lyon are two points further back.
PSG visit Saint-Etienne, Montpellier travel to Evian, Lille host third-bottom Nice and Lyon are at Valenciennes.