Lyon drops points in 1-1 draw at Sochaux
PARIS (AP) -Lyon missed the chance to take advantage of Marseille's home draw and move provisionally top of the French league when it was held to a 1-1 draw at struggling Sochaux on Sunday.
The draw for Lyon - and Marseille's 2-2 stalemate with Nice - means that Paris Saint-Germain only needs a point away to defending champion Montpellier later Sunday to reclaim top spot.
"Looking at things positively, we'll say that Marseille dropped two points at home while we were playing away,'' Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre said. "It wasn't easy against a team that is fighting to climb back up the table.''
Lyon took the lead in the 24th minute when midfielder Maxime Gonalons turned in Steed Malbranque's free kick.
Sloan Privat equalized in the 71st for Sochaux after running onto Ryad Boudebouz's excellent pass over the defense and finishing with a powerful strike. Sochaux is in 18th place.
Also Sunday, Bordeaux thrashed a poor Lorient side 4-0 away from home to move up to sixth spot. Brazilian winger Jussie and Poland midfielder Ludovic Obraniak scored in the first half, while forwards Henri Saivet and Yoan Gouffran grabbed a goal each after the break.
Lorient has not won since Sept. 16 and conceded 16 goals in the past four matches.
Earlier, Marseille missed the chance to put more pressure on PSG and Lyon when it was twice pegged back at Stade Velodrome.
Ghana winger Andre Ayew scored for the second successive league match to put Marseille ahead in the 40th minute, but Argentine forward Dario Cvitanich equalized soon after halftime.
France winger Mathieu Valbuena restored Marseille's lead midway through the second half, only for Nice winger Fabrice Abriel to level in the 88th against his former club.
It was not a good day for Marseille, with striker Loic Remy limping off toward the end with a thigh injury, and Valbuena missing a penalty midway through the first half, when his shot was saved by `keeper David Ospina.
"It was our first penalty of the season,'' said Marseille coach Elie Baup, justifying Valbuena's decision to take it. "There were several candidates to take it. Mathieu is among those, and then it's a question of feeling. You're talking about players who are internationals, it's not primary school.''
Marseille showed it has regained its scoring touch - with six goals in the past three games - but was let down by sloppy defending.
Valbuena, Marseille's best player this season, set up the first goal when his cross was met by Ayew's header.
Marseille drew 2-2 at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Europa League on Thursday, despite twice taking the lead, and again paid for some poor defending to allow Nice back in the match.
"It's a blow for us. We didn't do the right things and paid for it,'' Marseille center half Nicolas N'Koulou said. "Maybe the Europa League game weighed on us a bit, but we're not hiding from the fact it's two points lost.''
Nice equalized in the 51st when Marseille's defenders failed to cut out Eric Bautheac's cross from the left, allowing Cvitanich the space to beat goalkeeper Steve Mandanda with a diving header.
Marseille went ahead again in the 68th minute when Ayew's shot hit the crossbar, bounced off the body of Ospina and fell invitingly for Valbuena to finish, despite Ospina's best efforts to keep the ball out.
Ayew then combined with his younger brother Jordan Ayew, whose powerful shot from 20 yards went just over as Marseille pushed for a third goal.
But Nice kept pushing forward. Forward Alexy Bosetti got behind the Marseille defense and his cross to the back just missed midfielder Camel Meriem, but Abriel was on hand to fire the ball into the opposite corner.
"When you're winning with five minutes to go, the idea is to put your foot on the ball, move it wide and not let your opponent get on the front foot,'' Baup said. "Once again it's a feeling of frustration. It hasn't been the best of weeks.''