Brazilian forward Brandao earned Marseille a 1-1 draw at home to 10-man Toulouse on Saturday, while Bordeaux stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points by beating second-placed Monaco.
Brandao’s strike cancelled out Moussa Sissoko’s opener for Toulouse, who had goalkeeper Yohann Pele sent off early on, but Didier Deschamps’s expensively assembled outfit are now seven points behind defending champions Bordeaux in the table, albeit with a game in hand.
Third-placed Lyon visit Saint-Etienne in the Rhone derby later on Saturday night.
Toulouse were reduced to 10 men in just the eighth minute when Pele saw red for bringing down Mamadou Niang, but Alain Casanova’s side took the lead in stunning fashion 20 minutes later when Sissoko rifled a 30-yard free-kick into the top-left corner.
Pele’s replacement Olivier Blondel, who was brought on for Paulo Machado, came to the fore thereafter, saving from Souleymane Diawara, Lucho Gonzalez and Mathieu Valbuena before half-time as Marseille sought an equaliser.
Blondel prevented Valbuena from scoring with a sublime scissor-kick early in the second period but the visitors’ resistance was broken in the 75th minute when Brandao athletically volleyed in Bakary Kone’s centre from the right.
Both sides pushed for the winner, with Albin Ebondo and Etienne Capoue going close for the visitors, while Niang had a shot blocked on the line by Andre-Pierre Gignac and then fired just wide in injury time.
Bordeaux weathered a succession of Monaco corners in the early stages of their match at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, before visiting goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier was forced to keep out efforts from Yoan Gouffran and Wendel.
Laurent Blanc’s men continued to press in the second half and their efforts were rewarded in the 62nd minute when defender Marc Planus tapped home the winner after Ruffier had repelled a header by Marouane Chamakh.
Polish striker Ireneuz Jelen scored his second brace in a week to fire Auxerre to their fifth straight league victory, a 2-1 home win over Montpellier.
Jelen, Auxerre’s top scorer last season, was on target twice in the 3-2 victory over Lille last weekend and he notched a first-half double as Jean Fernandez’s team climbed to fifth in the table.
Elsewhere, Europa League participants Lille won 2-0 at 10-man bottom club Grenoble, who are still without a point this season, while Nancy defeated Boulogne-sur-Mer 2-1 and seventh-placed Lorient were held 1-1 at Lens.
Paris Saint-Germain, whose match at Marseille last weekend was postponed after a swine flu outbreak at the capital club, travel to Sochaux on Sunday, while Nice host Le Mans and Rennes take on Valenciennes.
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