Girondins de Bordeaux and LOSC Lille Metropole missed their chance to cut the gap on French league leaders Olympique de Marseille when they could only manage dull draws on Saturday.
Marseille would move five points clear if they could make it five wins in five matches this campaign with a success at winless AS Nancy-Lorraine yesterday — though Olympique Lyonnais would expect to keep the margin down to two points by beating AC Ajaccio at home.
Though they remain unbeaten, Bordeaux, the six-time Ligue 1 champions, missed out on the chance to leapfrog big-spending Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon after they could only manage a goalless draw at Valenciennes to stand fourth — three points off the pace.
Lille missed a chance to move into the top five when they were also held, 1-1, at ES Troyes AC, who thanked a late equalizer from Sebastien Grax for a point which leaves Lille winless since the opening day of the season.
Dimitri Payet had put the northerners ahead in the 38th minute, but Grax pegged them back with a neat right-footed effort to frustrate the visitors four days before they take on BATE Borisov of Belarus in the UEFA Champions League.
With no Champions League distractions, Marseille and Lyon could put the pressure on if they won their encounters yesterday and the riches of Europe’s premier club competition could be a poisoned chalice for the likes of PSG and reigning French champions Montpellier Herault.
At least PSG will relish their opening match against Dynamo Kiev after Friday’s 2-0 win over Toulouse.
In contrast, Montpellier sold France striker Olivier Giroud to their opening European opponents Arsenal, while in the league nothing is going right after Friday brought a third league defeat in five games — a 3-1 reverse at Stade de Reims.
In Saturday’s other matches, Sochaux-Montbeliard managed their first points of the new season with a 1-0 win at former giants AS Saint-Etienne, OGC Nice swatted Stade Brestois 29 4-2 in a midtable battle and modest Evian Thonon Gaillard bagged their first win — 3-0 at home to SC Bastia — to climb out of the drop zone.