Marseille beat Lens as French title race remains wide open
Brazilian Brandao's header gave Marseille 1-0 win against Lens to climb to fourth with 56 points, behind third-placed Girondins Bordeaux on goal difference. Both clubs have two games in hand, while Lyon lead on 57 points.
REUTERS - Olympique Marseille closed to within one point of Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Lyon on Sunday with a first-half header from Brandao securing a 1-0 victory at home to Racing Lens.
Marseille, who ended the game with 10 men after defender Stephane Mbia was sent off with 15 minutes left, climbed to fourth on 56 points, behind third-placed Girondins Bordeaux on goal difference. Both clubs have two games in hand.
Auxerre, fifth on 56 points, host Paris St Germain later on Sunday and can go top with a win.
Lyon lead on 57 points with seven games to play after a 2-1 win at Stade Rennes while Bordeaux lost 2-1 at home to Nancy on Saturday. Montpellier, on the same points as Lyon, are second on goal difference after being held 0-0 at home by Monaco.
Marseille failed to create many chances against Lens until Brandao headed home a Lucho Gonzalez corner kick midway through first half.
The game lacked pace and became more tense after the interval as Marseille were unable to threaten the visitors and then Mbia was sent off for a fierce challenge on Lens forward Issam Jemaa.
"The most important thing is the result and we got a good one. Even if we had to struggle, we reached our goal," Marseille coach Didier Deschamps told reporters.
"We started slowly against a team whose main intention was to defend ... but eventually, we were able to get a win.
"This is a good weekend for us as we are now closer to the top ... It's going to be tight until the end."
In other Ligue 1 action on Sunday, Toulouse snatched a 1-1 draw at Boulogne with a late equaliser by Norway midfielder Daniel Braaten, who fired home from the edge of the box.
Former France international Olivier Kapo had opened the scoring for the home side, his first goal in Ligue 1 since his return to France earlier this year after a three-and-half-year spell abroad.
Boulogne are third from bottom on 24 points, eight behind St Etienne who are just above drop zone.