France round-up: Stuttering Monaco miss out

AS Monaco FC missed out on the chance to move clear as three of the leading five dropped points.

AS Monaco FC missed out on the chance to move clear at the top as the race for the Ligue 1 title took a twist at the weekend with three of the top five clubs dropping points.

Morientes opener
Fernando Morientes put Monaco ahead in their Sunday game against FC Sochaux Montbéliard but, despite having the most prolific attack in the league, they failed to add to their tally and Pierre Alain Frau's equaliser for the home side midway through the second half earned them a share of the spoils. The point enabled Monaco to climb above Olympique de Marseille - but only by virtue of goals scored.

Missed penalty
Marseille returned to winning ways by scoring two without reply against Stade Rennais FC at the Vélodrome. After a penalty was awarded for handball, Brahim Hemdani saw his spot-kick saved - but Daniel van Buyten spared his team-mate's blushes by knocking in the rebound. Didier Drogba, currently leading the UEFA Champions League scoring charts with five goals, added his seventh domestic strike of the season to double Marseille's margin of victory.

Record broken
Champions Olympique Lyonnais look to be back on track as they moved into third place with a fine 1-0 win against FC Nantes Atlantique. The game's only goal - the first conceded by the home side at La Beaujoire this season - was scored by Brazilian Juninho Pernambucano on 67 minutes.

Goalless draws
Paris Saint-Germain FC failed to achieve a club record sixth successive win, instead settling for a goalless draw against AC Ajaccio on an unforgiving pitch at the François Coty. Lorik Cana was sent off for PSG. The scoreline was mirrored at the Du Ray where OGC Nice were held by FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

Hautcoeur joy
At the other end of the table, rock-bottom Le Mans UC 72 scored their third goal of the season through Yohan Hautcoeur - but saw it cancelled out by SC Bastia's Florian Maurice shortly afterwards in a 1-1 draw. A solitary goal by Jean-Christophe Rouviere handed AJ Auxerre a 1-0 defeat at the hands of ten-man Montpellier Hérault SC, who had Thierry Gathuessi sent off 12 minutes from time.

Deflected winner
In the weekend's other games, EA Guingamp beat Toulouse FC 1-0 thanks to Milovan Sikimic's deflected free-kick, while RC Lens defeated Lille OSC 2-1 and FC Metz scored twice without reply against RC Strasbourg at La Meinau.