AS Monaco FC returned to the top of Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win at home to Montpellier Hérault SC on Saturday.
All to play for
Monaco joined Olympique Lyonnais on 64 points, but moved top thanks to a superior goal difference, although the champions can regain the league leadership on Sunday when they play at home to Paris Saint-Germain FC.
Tight first half
In Saturday's early game, there was little space in the opening 45 minutes, with Monaco striker Shabani Nonda coming the closest to opening the scoring in the 14th minute, when his effort rebounded from a post. However, four minutes into the second period the away side broke the deadlock, as Cédric Barbosa's free-kick was headed into the net by Mansour Assoumani.
The goal seemed to spur Monaco into action, and they were level within four minutes as Nonda turned Ludovic Giuly's cross into the net. The home side then took control, and Croatia international striker Dada Prso made the score 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining, finding the net after Giuly's shot had been parried by Montpellier goalkeeper Rudy Riou before Nonda's second three minutes from time sealed all three points.
Olympique de Marseille missed the chance to move a point above Monaco and Lyon as they slipped to a 3-0 defeat at fifth-placed FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, with Brazilian striker Santos giving the home side the lead with a low shot after 28 minutes. Sochaux then had a golden opportunity to double their lead four minutes before half-time, only for Marseille goalkeeper Vedran Runje to save Pierre-Alain Frau's penalty.
Sochaux in charge
It was 2-0 four minutes past the hour, as Frau made amends, and Marseille's hopes further faded with the dismissal of captain Franck Lebeouf for a second yellow card two minutes later. However, the away side might still have found a way back into the match, but Ibrahima Bakayoko's penalty was saved by Sochaux goalkeeper Teddy Richet and, after Daniel van Buyten had become the second Marseille player to be shown a red card, Mickaël Isabey added a third.
Bordeaux stay in touch
FC Girondins de Bordeaux moved within four points of the top of the table, as strikes at either end of the first half from Pauleta and Jean-Claude Darcheville earned a 2-0 win against struggling Le Havre AC, while AJ Auxerre were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Lille OSC.
At the bottom, ES Troyes Aube Champagne were relegated after Daniel Moreira's late goal gave RC Lens a 1-0 win, while two Stéphane Noro goals enabled CS Sedan-Ardennes to recover from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at home to SC Bastia.
A Danijel Ljuboja goal six minutes from time secured RC Strasbourg a 3-2 win at Stade Rennais FC, while two goals from Christophe Le Roux and one each from Stéphane Carnot and Didier Drogba gave En Avant Guingamp an emphatic 4-0 win at FC Nantes Atlantique and AC Ajaccio were 2-0 winners at home to OGC Nice.
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