- Bordeaux - football - France - Olympique Marseille
Defending champions Bordeaux draw with Marseille
Despite playing with only ten men after a red card was handed to Planus, French league leaders Bordeaux drew with Olympique Marseille 1-1 on Sunday, giving the defending champions the lead in Ligue 1, seven points ahead of second-placed Lille.
AFP - Benoit Cheyrou struck an 81st-minute equaliser to earn Marseille a 1-1 draw at Bordeaux on Sunday that kept his side in the title race, albeit 11 points behind the league leaders with a game in hand.
Defending champions Bordeaux led through a contested Steve Mandanda own goal on the cusp of half-time but lost goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso to injury and then had centre-back Marc Planus sent off.
The numerical advantage allowed Marseille to boss the match for the first time and they snatched a point when Cheyrou chested down a knockdown before volleying past substitute keeper Ulrich Rame, after Bordeaux's defenders had been sucked towards Brandao at the defence of a free-kick.
The visitors came close to victory in the closing stages, but Rame saved superbly from Lucho Gonzalez's instinctive toe-poke and Mathieu Valbuena flashed a low, right-footed shot narrowly wide.
Bordeaux now lead the French top flight by seven points from Lille, while Marseille climb above Lyon to fourth.
The opening goal went down as a Mandanda own goal but it owed everything to a superb cross from advancing centre-back Mickael Ciani and the single-mindedness of Marouane Chamakh, whose strong aerial challenge forced the France international goalkeeper to divert the ball into his own net.
The away side protested fiercely about the legitimacy of Chamakh's leap but referee Laurent Duhamel turned a deaf ear.
It was shortly before the hour-mark that Bordeaux lost Carrasso to an injury apparently sustained taking a free-kick deep inside his own half.
Rame took over between the sticks and quickly found himself exposed when Mamadou Niang earned a free-kick right on the edge of the Bordeaux area, having been felled by Planus, who was promptly dismissed.
Planus's expulsion was harsh given the presence of a covering defender in the form of Ciani, but Cheyrou could not capitalise with the dead ball.
Laurent Blanc had deployed Chamakh as a lone central focal point and Bordeaux's attacking midfielders pressed high up the pitch, pinning Marseille deep inside their own half and cutting off Marseille's own forward trident of Niang, Brandao and Fabrice Ariel.
The tactic gave Bordeaux control of proceedings in the first half but clear-cut chances were scarce.
Ciani had a shot deflected over the crossbar following a neat turn in the Marseille penalty box in the fifth minute, while Wendel and Yoann Gourcuff both drew straightforward saves from Mandanda.
In Saturday's action, in-form Lille stretched their winning run to eight matches in all competitions and galvanised their grasp on second place by beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1.
On the first weekend programme of fixtures after the winter break, Lyon got their season back on track with a 2-0 win at Nancy while Montpellier beat Nice 1-0 to hold onto third place in the table, a point shy of Lille.