Bordeaux stretch lead, Gomis haunts Saint-Etienne
Paris: Bafetimbi Gomis marked his return to Saint-Etienne by scoring the winning goal for Lyon in the Rhone derby on Saturday, after league leaders Bordeaux won 1-0 at home to Monaco.
Meanwhile Marseille were grateful to Brazilian forward Brandao, whose 75th-minute strike rescued a 1-1 draw at home to 10-man Toulouse.
Bordeaux`s victory had taken the defending champions four points clear at the summit, but Lyon cut the gap to two points and moved above Monaco into second place with victory over Saint-Etienne in the evening game.
"It`s nice to look at the table tonight," said Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc.
"We knew that if we won we`d stay first and we know that other teams can drop points. But for me, we should always focus on our own performances. I`m pleased that the team have learnt how to win again."
Lyon created the majority of the chances in an open game at Saint-Etienne but found Les Verts goalkeeper Jeremie Janot in obstinate form, with Lisandro Lopez, Miralem Pjanic and Jean Makoun all denied by the 32-year-old.
Gomis, making his first appearance at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard since his summer move to Lyon, was heavily jeered after coming on as a second-half substitute but made sure he had the last laugh by volleying home the winner in the 83rd minute after Janot spilled a corner.
Bordeaux weathered a succession of Monaco corners in the early stages of their match at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, before visiting goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier was forced to keep out efforts from Yoan Gouffran and Wendel.
Blanc`s men continued to press in the second half and their efforts were rewarded in the 62nd minute when defender Marc Planus tapped home the winner after Ruffier had repelled a header by Marouane Chamakh.
Toulouse were reduced to 10 men in just the eighth minute of their match at Marseille when goalkeeper Yohann Pele saw red for bringing down Mamadou Niang, but Alain Casanova`s side took the lead in stunning fashion 20 minutes later when Moussa Sissoko rifled a 30-yard free-kick into the top-left corner.
Pele`s replacement Olivier Blondel, who was brought on for Paulo Machado, came to the fore thereafter, saving from Souleymane Diawara, Lucho Gonzalez and Mathieu Valbuena before half-time as Marseille sought an equaliser.
Blondel prevented Valbuena from scoring with a sublime scissor-kick early in the second period but the visitors` resistance was broken in the 75th minute when Brandao athletically volleyed in Bakary Kone`s centre from the right.
"The result wasn`t great but there`s still a long way to go in the championship," said Marseille coach Didier Deschamps, whose side are seven points behind Bordeaux in sixth place but have a game in hand.
"In the context of the match, lots of things pleased me. I think it`s by repeating this kind of performance that we can start achieving better things."
Polish striker Ireneuz Jelen scored his second brace in a week to fire Auxerre to their fifth straight league victory, a 2-1 home win over Montpellier.
Jelen, Auxerre`s top scorer last season, was on target twice in the 3-2 victory over Lille last weekend and he notched a first-half double as Jean Fernandez`s team climbed to fifth in the table.
Elsewhere, Europa League participants Lille won 2-0 at 10-man bottom club Grenoble, who are still without a point this season, while Nancy defeated Boulogne-sur-Mer 2-1 and seventh-placed Lorient were held 1-1 at Lens.
Paris Saint-Germain, whose match at Marseille last weekend was postponed after a swine flu outbreak at the capital club, travel to Sochaux on Sunday, while Nice host Le Mans and Rennes take on Valenciennes.