Marseille took advantage of Saint-Etienne’s surprise defeat at Troyes to move third in Ligue 1 after battling back from two goals down to win 4-2 at Nice in a Mediterranean derby match on Sunday.
Despite playing the final 24 minutes with 10 men, Marseille held on to move within three points of defending champion Monaco and six behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.
"We had a very difficult start to the match, we went 2-0 down very quickly, but then we showed our character," Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda said.
"Now we need to continue, keep this mentality we have had now for a few matches. It’s certain that it’s much more pleasurable to work when you’re third."
Mario Balotelli headed in a corner to put Nice ahead inside four minutes and Jean Michael Seri doubled the home side’s lead in the 16th after another corner was poorly cleared by Marseille.
However, two goals from Lucas Ocampos and an own-goal from Pierre Lees Melou gave Marseille the 3-2 advantage at the break.
Luiz Gustavo extended Marseille’s lead three minutes after halftime but could have gone from hero to villain when he was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Lees Melou
Nice won a penalty with seven minutes remaining when Allan Saint-Maximim was fouled by Gregory Sertic after a series of dribbles. But Mandanda saved Alassane Plea’s spot kick.
YELLOW TO RED
Lyon let slip a two-goal lead after going down to 10 men in a bizarre incident to draw 3-3 at Angers.
The match changed five minutes after the break when Marcelo was sent off with Lyon leading 3-1.
The Brazil defender lifted his arm in frustration at being booked and appeared to accidentally knock the yellow card out of the referee’s hand, immediately turning around and apologizing for what he had done. However, Mikael Lesage showed him the red card.
Karl Toko Ekambi reduced the deficit eight minutes later and Ismael Traore levelled in the 67th.
Lyon had taken the lead with less than five minutes on the clock when Mariano Diaz didn’t hit Rafael’s cross cleanly but the ball still bounced into the bottom left corner.
Rafael scored an own-goal on the half hour but Mouctar Diakhaby headed Lyon back in front and Memphis Depay tucked away a rebound to give the visitors a seemingly comfortable halftime lead.
Saint-Etienne lost 2-1 at newly promoted Troyes despite the home side playing for nearly an hour with 10 men.
Bryan Pele and Saif-Eddine Khaoui scored for Troyes, either side of Hernani’s equalizer.
Hernani was sent off six minutes from time with the second red card of the match after Troyes midfielder Karim Azamoum’s first-half dismissal.
Saint-Etienne slipped to seventh, while Troyes moved up to ninth after its first home win of the season.
Troyes was looking for a second successive victory but its hopes receded when Azamoum was shown a straight red card in the 34th minute for a tackle on Remy Cabella.
Saint-Etienne had dominated the game until the sending off but it was Troyes that took the lead seven minutes after going down to 10 men as Samuel Grandsir raced down the right before crossing for an unmarked Pele to volley in.
Saint-Etienne equalized in the 53rd when Cabella sprinted on the left flank and crossed for Hernani to fire into the bottom left corner.
But Khaoui restored Troyes’ lead four minutes later with a free kick into the top left corner.
Troyes goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa pulled off a number of fine saves to prevent Saint-Etienne equalizing and the visitors’ hopes of snatching a point all but evaporated when Hernani was sent off for a challenge on Grandsir.
Troyes thought it had extended its lead in stoppage time but Adama Niane’s goal was ruled out for offside.