Olympique Lyonnais missed the creative spark of injured playmaker Yoann Gourcuff on Friday as they dropped their first points of their new campaign with a 1-1 draw at modest Evian Thonon Galliard.
Lyon had won their two opening games, but fluffed their lines as only a Michel Bastos equalizer 16 minutes from time saved their blushes after Cedric Barbosa had given Evian the lead on 57 minutes with a neat volley.
Bastos had only minutes earlier replaced Lisandro when he pounced with a direct free-kick which flew through a poorly organized wall.
Wins over Stade Rennais and ES Troyes AC had taken Lyon to the summit on goal difference after thrashing Troyes 4-1, but Gourcuff sustained a knee ligament injury in that game and faces three months out of action.
Lyon, champions seven years in a row between 2002 and 2008, finished a disappointing fourth last term and have brought in only one new player — Serbian defender Milan Bisevac, from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) — in the transfer window.
Following the two dropped points Lyon — who earlier announced the 6 million euro (US$7.5 million) transfer of defender Aly Cissokho to Valencia — could now be overhauled at the weekend by Olympique de Marseille, SC Bastia and Girondins de Bordeaux.
Marseille, the champions in 2010, face reigning titleholders Montpellier Herault today with the latter still yet to win having drawn with Toulouse and then lost at Lorient.
The champions have Chilean midfielder Marco Estrada out injured and defensive midfielder Jamel Saihi is suspended, but new signing Anthony Mounier could make his first league appearance for the club after missing the opening two matches due to a thigh problem.
LOSC Lille Metropole, last year’s champions, and Paris Saint-Germain will hope to get on track, with the former struggling to reach the Champions League group stage after losing to FC Copenhagen in their play-off tie on Tuesday. The northerners were set to face a trip yesterday to Nice.
Qatari-backed PSG are already four points off the pace in Ligue 1 after behind held by first Lorient and then Ajaccio and will hope for their first win bonus at home to Bordeaux on Sunday.
PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti could hand a debut to Brazilian center-back Thiago Silva, who is yet to feature following his 42 million euro transfer from AC Milan.