Olympique de Marseille missed a golden chance to go level on points with Olympique Lyonnais at the top of the French first division as the former European champions slid to a 3-1 loss at struggling Sochaux-Montbeliard on Sunday.
Marseille, the 2010 champions, labored in driving snow and sub-zero temperatures after Sloan Privat opened the scoring for the hosts.
Privat headed home a Rafael Dias corner from the right to cheer shivering home fans who enjoyed a fifth win of the campaign which saw them move above Evian Thonon Gaillard and out of the bottom three.
Marseille, without Loic Remy, their France international striker who is on the point of joining English Premier League strugglers Newcastle, responded as Jordan Ayew tried a shot on the turn which did not trouble keeper Simon Pouplin.
Sochaux were happy to concede the bulk of the possession to the visitors and went 2-0 to the good on 40 minutes when Cedric Bakambu headed in. A Dias free-kick was not properly cleared by Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda and when David Sauget turned the ball back into the danger zone Bakambu nodded over the line.
Andre Ayew fired just wide seconds before the break, but Marseille looked dejected as they trooped off.
There was worse to come seconds after the restart when Sebastien Roudet played the ball in and Jeremy Morel steered the ball past his own keeper.
Marseille tried to stop the rot as Jordan Ayew and then English midfielder Joey Barton hit pot shots — Loic Poujel clearing the latter effort off the line — before Ajew did finally reduce the arrears in the 55th minute after cutting in from the right.
Marseille’s Cameroon defender Nicolas Nkoulou almost made it 3-2 after heading a Mathieu Valbuena cross against the upright.
Sochaux then found themselves down to 10 men when Joseph Lopy was dismissed for a tackle on Valbuena which brought a second yellow card.
Marseille, ending a run of three straight wins, went down to defeat at Sochaux for the ninth time in their last 12 visits.
Lyon, looking to win the title for the first time in five seasons after their seven-in-a-row run came to an end in 2008, went top of the heap on Saturday with a 2-1 win at ES Troyes AC which propelled them ahead of big spenders Paris Saint-Germain.
Lyon shrugged off the embarrassment of last week’s Cup exit to third division Epinal after Maxime Gonalons and Samuel Umtiti, at the second attempt, found the net from two well-rehearsed corner routines.
Remi Garde’s men now lead the table by two points after inconsistent PSG yet again frustrated their fans on Friday with a goalless stalemate at home to AC Ajaccio.