Second-placed Olympique Lyonnais suffered a major blow in the Ligue 1 title race with a 3-1 home loss to LOSC Lille Metropole on Sunday, a second successive defeat leaving them six points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Centerback Aurelien Chedjou headed the visitors in front following a Dimitri Payet corner in the 28th minute and Florent Balmont scored on the stroke of halftime, also from a pass by Payet, who has now set up 10 goals and scored seven.
Both sides conceded penalties in the second half with Salomon Kalou netting the third for Lille five minutes after the break and Lisandro Lopez making it 3-1 in the 57th minute.
Lyon failed to challenge Lille’s domination and Payet went close to grabbing a fourth for the visitors when his powerful effort hit the post with 11 minutes left.
“We failed in a big game tonight. We were poor. We have to accept it and quickly get back to work,” centerback Milan Bisevac told Lyon’s Web site.
Lyon, who lost 3-1 at AC Ajaccio the previous weekend, stayed second on 45 points from 24 games.
Third-placed Olympique de Marseille, who are two points behind, conceded a penalty and finished with nine men as their poor run continued with a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Evian Thonon Gaillard.
Andre-Pierre Gignac put the visitors in front with a superb half-volley in the 50th minute, but Yannick Sagbo leveled for the hosts from the penalty spot following rightback Kassim Abdallah’s dismissal for a foul on Saber Khlifa.
Marseille, who had Joey Barton sent off when they lost at home to bottom club AS Nancy-Lorraine the previous weekend, were reduced to nine men after Jordan Ayew picked up two bookings in two minutes, seconds after replacing Mathieu Valbuena.
“When you’ve already received a yellow card, you have to take care and behave,” Marseille coach Elie Baup told French channel beIN Sport, criticizing Ayew, who earned his second card for a rough challenge on Pavel Ninkovic.
Evian climbed to 17th on 23 points.
Marseille, who occupy the third UEFA Champions League qualifying spot, are three points ahead of AS Saint-Etienne in fourth and Stade Rennais, who climbed to fifth with a 2-0 home win over Toulouse.
Forward Romain Alessandrini — named in the France squad for the first time last week, but who did not feature in the 2-1 loss to Germany — took advantage of goalkeeper Ali Ahamada’s blunder to break the deadlock in the 79th minute with his 10th league goal of the season.
Striker Mevlut Erding doubled the lead from close range five minutes later for the hosts, who have scored two goals in all their past five games in all competitions.