A second-half equalizer by France international Mathieu Valbuena saw champions Olympique de Marseille draw 1-1 with Olympique Lyonnais and deny the visitors top spot in the Ligue 1 table on Sunday.
Valbuena’s third league goal of the season got Marseille back on level terms after Argentine Lisandro had given Lyon the lead in the 34th minute, his eighth goal of the season.
The game ended with a heated argument between Marseille’s veteran Argentine fullback Gabriel Heinze and Lyon’s Jimmy Briand.
The result puts Lyon in fourth place, a point behind leaders Lille, who have a game in hand, while Marseille are another two points adrift.
Marseille coach Didier Deschamps said he had hoped for better, but was still pleased by parts of the performance.
“The fact that we came back from a goal down is a good thing,” said the World Cup and European Championship-winning captain, who has also had spells coaching at Monaco and Juventus. “It’s a pity that we couldn’t get a winner at the end.”
His Lyon counterpart, Claude Puel, also had regrets, mainly that they had allowed Marseille to get into the match in the second half, but overall he left a happy man.
“We could have been more effective when it came to the final pass and in front of goal,” said the 49-year-old Puel, who has also had a spell coaching Monaco, guiding them to the title in 2000. “We could have come away with more this evening, but taking a point at Marseille isn’t too bad.”
Lyon took the lead when Lisandro’s crisply struck shot, after being well found by Brazilian Michel Bastos, beat Steve Mandanda, though the goalkeeper looked askance at his defense, who had left the Argentine star unmarked.
The visitors went into the break as leaders of the league, but were back among the also-rans in the 51st minute when Valbuena nipped in behind the static Lyon defense and flicked Benoit Cheyrou’s ball past Hugo Lloris.
Lyon went close to restoring their lead in the 64th minute when Cheyrou was dispossessed by Cameroon midfielder Jean II Makoun and his pass found Bafetembi Gomis, but his shot slid the wrong side of the post.
The day’s only other match to survive the inhospitable weather sweeping across Europe saw 2008-2009 French champions Girondins de Bordeaux held to their fourth successive draw, a 1-1 stalemate with Sochaux.
Brazilian striker Jussie had given Bordeaux the lead in the 28th minute with a header from Czech Republic international midfielder Jaroslav Plasil’s corner, the 11th goal out of a total of 21 this season conceded by the hosts to come from a set-piece.
However, Sochaux leveled six minutes later when playmaker Marvin Martin broke down the right and passed to an unmarked Ideye Brown, who slotted the ball past Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carasso.
The visitors pressed hard in the second half and Malian striker Cheikh Diabate went desperately close to scoring on his first appearance in nearly a year, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Pierrick Cros.
Martin — who has created the most goals in Ligue 1 this season — twice went close to giving the hosts the three points as first his volley in the 72nd minute came back off the bar and then almost on the final whistle, Carasso pulled off a great save from Martin’s fierce shot.
Bordeaux coach Jean Tigana was left frustrated with yet another draw that sees his side in ninth place, though only five points off leaders Lille.