Red-hot Rennes in pursuit as Paris Saint-Germain stumble
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Winger Paul-Georges Ntep and forward Giovanni Sio scored as second-place Rennes won 2-0 at Nantes in a hot-tempered Brittany derby to close the gap with Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Nantes finished with nine men, after midfielder Adryan Oliveira Tavares was sent off early into the second half and Icelandic striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson got a straight red for another dangerous tackle in the 77th minute.
In between the red cards, the Reds of Rennes took the lead as Ntep grabbed his first goal of the season from close range in the 67th after goalkeeper Maxime Dupe had saved Abdoulaye Doucoure's shot.
The burly Sio pounced one minute from time with a low shot after running onto Doucoure's pass for his third goal of the season.
The win gives coach Philippe Montanier's Rennes side 12 points after five matches, one behind PSG, who dropped their first points of the season on Friday in a 2-2 home draw against Bordeaux.
Monaco missing Martial
Earlier, Brazilian defender Fabinho scored a first-half penalty as Monaco secured a scrappy 1-0 win away against Corsican side Ajaccio.
Fabinho stroked his spot kick low to the left in the 16th minute after veteran defender David Ducourtioux handled Ivan Cavaleiro's cross.
"We didn't play well but the most important thing was to win," Monaco centre-half Andrea Raggi said. "A lot of players have left the club but we still have a strong team."
Monaco, who sold several key players during the offseason, were playing their first league game since selling 19-year-old forward Anthony Martial to Manchester United on the last day of the summer transfer window in a deal that could rise to 80 million euros ($90 million).
Argentine Guido Carrillo replaced him up front, but Monaco lacked creativity and speed in attack for most of the match.
Cavaleiro went close in the 31st but Ajaccio goalkeeper Clement Maury made a smart save to his left.
Ajaccio almost equalized in the 78th when Issiaga Sylla forced Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic into action, and moments later Maury kicked away Monaco midfielder Mario Pasalic's goal-bound strike.
Marseille hit their stride
Olympique Marseille later wrapped up the day's action with a convincing 4-1 dismissal of another Corsican side, Bastia.
Marseille confirmed their improvement under new coach Michel, overpowering the Corsicans thanks to a second-half brace by Romain Alessandrini.
The southerners, who have struggled so far away from home, now boast of the best attack in Ligue 1 with 10 goals, six of which came from their demolition of Troyes three weeks ago.
Sunday night's game also saw former Marseille striker Brandao score Bastia's consolation goal against his former club.
Brandao, who received a rare prison sentence for headbutting an opponent last year, was back after a three-match suspension.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
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