Marseille slumped to defeat at home against Lorient after squandering a 2-0 lead, days after their League Cup humiliation at the hands of Metz. Meanwhile, strikers Giuly and Hoarau helped Paris Saint Germain to a 3-1 win over Le Havre.
Marseille were sailing to victory against Lorient on Saturday before imploding in front of their Velodrome fans to lose 3-2 and squander the chance to gain ground on league leaders Lyon.
With 14 minutes left on the clock Eric Gerets' side had victory in their grasp after an early strike from Karim Ziani and a penalty on the hour mark from Mamadou Niang.
As things stood that would have pushed them up to within a point of Lyon, but then followed a collapse of seismic proportions as Lorient hit back with three goals inside 11 minutes.
Morgan Amalfitano, in the 76th minute, and then Fabrice Abriel, pulled the struggling visitors back on level terms before Kevin Gameiro grabbed the unlikely winner three minutes from time.
Gerets stated: "To lose a match like that is catastrophic! For 70 minutes we were in control. Then we lost it. What a shame.
"We should have closed the door but we weren't able to. We have to catch up for each lost point now but it doesn't mean that everything's finished just because we've lost one match," said Marseille captain Lorik Cana.
For Lorient manager Christian Gourcruff justice was done as he claimed Marseille's penalty should not have been awarded.
"The foul wasn't committed in the penalty area. I concede referees can make mistakes but everything should be done to ensure it doesn't happen."
He added: "For us we're happy, even if we didn't play our best. What counts is to take three ponits which could be important on judgement day."
This embarrassing reverse which left Marseille four points adrift in second, came on the back of the club's midweek humiliation in the League Cup at the hands of Metz.
Marseille's arch rivals Paris Saint Germain were enjoying altogether better fortunes up on the Normandy coast where Paul Le Guen's men notched up their third straight win in a week.
After Lille and Nancy in the League Cup the capital club gained the scalp of Le Havre with a 3-1 win with up-and-coming Guillaume Hoarau getting a double, his strikes sandwiching Ludovic Giuly's first half contribution.
That left PSG in the right frame of mind to take on seven time champions Lyon, who host Bordeaux on Sunday, next weekend.
This result strengthened further PSG's claims on a place in Europe next season, lifting them up a place into fifth.
The other big winners from Saturday's menu were Toulouse who took third courtesy of a 2-0 win at Grenoble.
Goals in the second and 19th minute from Andre-Pierre Gignac did it for Grenoble and lifted the Toulouse striker up on to eight goals to join Karim Benzema and Horeau at the top of the scoring charts.
Elsewhere Steve Savidan was keen to impress with his call-up to the French squad for the upcoming Uruguay friendly and he didn't disappoint, scoring Caen's goal in their 1-1 draw at Nancy.
Down at the foot of the table, bottom-club Valenciennes fell to their ninth defeat of the season with a 1-0 defeat at Le Mans - Auxerre beat Sochaux by the same score.
Alain Perrin, the former Lyon and Portsmouth boss who was hired on a two-year contract to revive struggling Saint Etienne this week, saw the scale of the task ahead of him as the former European heavyweight crashed 3-0 at Lille in Saturday's late game.
"Three days was not enough to inject even minimal confidence to be able to deal with a very good Lille side," Perrin said afterwards. "Lille are full of confidence, it's team which moves well going forward, and our defence lacked decisiveness and efficiency."
Aside from Lyon, Sunday's programme features Monaco away to Rennes and Nice hosting Nantes.
Date created : 2008-11-16