Lyon suffer reverse
French champions Lyon suffered a 1-0 defeat at Le Mans on Saturday which threw the title race wide open and also dented their planning for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United.
Lyon, the French champions for the last six years, still lead the championship but will see the advantage slashed to just one point if Bordeaux defeat Monaco on Sunday.
With one eye on Wednesday's European showdown with United, Lyon coach Alain Perrin decided to leave Karim Benzema, the championship's top scorer with 16 goals, on the bench despite already missing injured Brazilian attacker Fred.
It was another Brazilian who stole the headlines as Tulio De Melo scored the only goal of the game in the 70th minute from a cross by Ibrahima Camara.
The victory was also a repeat of Le Mans' 1-0 win in the French League Cup semifinal in January, a win secured on that occasion by Japanese midfielder Daisuke Matsui.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas was critical of the pitch at the Stade Leon Bollee.
"Le Mans are not our bogey team even if we have suffered two defeats to them in such a short space of time," said Aulas.
"The pitch doesn't explain our defeat but if you want to see a good match, you need a good pitch. Sadly a lot in France are not worthy of the top flight."
Le Mans moved into fifth place in the table with 37 points to maintain their hopes of a European place next season.
Nancy remain third but still eight points behind Lyon after crashing to a 4-0 defeat at St Etienne where Loic Perrin and Bafetimbi Gomis were on target for the home side before the interval.
Pascal Feindouno, fresh from his return from the African Nations Cup with Guinea, and Bafetimbi Gomis added two more goals in the second half.
Lille eased their relegation fears with a 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Rennes with much-travelled Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert scoring twice to double his tally for the season.
Marseille are in seventh place ahead of their clash with arch-rivals PSG on Sunday where the faltering Parisians will bid to erase their relegation fears.
PSG lie fifth from bottom, just three points off the drop zone.
Marseille's outspoken president Pape Diouf claimed that Sunday's match would be "the easiest of the season" for PSG given their role of the underdog.
"In my eyes, this match is a real trap for Marseille because PSG will come as the outsiders," Diouf said.
"They will make us favourites, like they did in the final of the French Cup" in 2006 which Marseille lost to PSG, said Diouf, whose team is fresh from a 3-0 midweek hammering of Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Cup.
Around 2,000 PSG fans are expected at the Stade Velodrome for what will undoubtedly be a highly-charged atmosphere.