France: Lyon needs late equalizer to draw at home to Nancy
French league leader Lyon needed a late equalizer from winger Michel Bastos to rescue a 1-1 home draw with relegation battler Nancy on Wednesday, opening the door for Paris Saint-Germain ahead of their table-topping clash at the weekend.
Lyon's confidence was high after wins at title rivals Marseille and Saint-Etienne, but the home fans were left stunned when defender Jordan Loties put 19th-place Nancy ahead in the 74th minute.
Bastos, who scored the winner in Sunday's 1-0 victory at local rival Saint-Etienne, equalized in the 83rd minute.
Lyon leads by three points but PSG has a superior goal difference and will take top spot by winning at Parc des Princes on Sunday night.
"We used up a lot of energy in the derby against Saint-Etienne and our minds were a little bit on Paris,'' Lyon coach Remi Garde said. "Sometimes you get matches like that, matches which are very hard. Still, we showed the right attitude and that's what I will remember.''
Meanwhile, third-place Marseille moved level on points with PSG after winning 2-1 at Bastia. PSG has a better goal difference than Marseille, which has only kept one clean sheet in the past 10 games in all competitions.
"We had a lot of chances, and once again we didn't really take them,'' Marseille coach Elie Baup said. "We're alternating between home defeats and way wins.''
Midfielder Mathieu Valbuena put Marseille ahead early in the first half with a volley into the top corner, and winger Andre Ayew made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 70th after younger brother Jordan Ayew was fouled by goalkeeper Landry Bonnefoi.
Striker Anthony Modeste pulled a goal back for Bastia in the 82nd when Marseille's defenders were caught out appealing for an offside.
With five minutes remaining, Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac came off the bench to make his first appearance since fracturing a bone in his left foot on Oct. 21. He almost scored but was twice denied by Bonnefoi.
Marseille, which lost its past two league games at home, held on in the closing stages to win its second straight game away from home.
At Stade Gerland earlier, Lyon was missing midfielders Clement Grenier and Yoann Gourcuff through injury and lacked its usual fluidity in attack during a scrappy first half.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis missed a great chance when he beat two players but hesitated to shoot before firing over in the 39th after being set up by Bastos.
Although Lyon was largely on top with possession, goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre had to be alert to keep out a shot from Loties late in the half.
"We're disappointed because we wanted to match our performance against Saint-Etienne,'' Vercoutre said. "But it should be noted that Nancy also played well.''
Lyon striker Lisandro Lopez came on for Alexandre Lacazette at the start of the second half but looked short on match-fitness after more than three weeks out.
Loties stunned Lyon with his second goal in the space of a week when Vercoutre dealt poorly with Yohan Mollo's free kick, pushing the ball away toward Loties, who knew little about it as it bounced off his chest and went into the net.
But Bastos rescued Lyon with a shot from just inside the area after being teed up by veteran midfielder Steed Malbranque.
Also Wednesday, it was: Ajaccio 2, Reims 0; Brest 1, Montpellier 2; Evian 2, Troyes 0, and Lorient 2, Sochaux 0. Bordeaux hosts Saint-Etienne on Thursday.
Lorient climbed above Saint-Etienne and provisionally into fourth place thanks to a third straight league win.
Attacking midfielder Alain Traore put Lorient ahead with a shot from outside the penalty area, and center half Lamine Kone made it 2-0 shortly after the interval.
The defeat dropped Sochaux into the relegation zone, while Montpellier climbed to 11th after coming from a goal behind.
Israel forward Eden Ben Basat put Brest ahead early on, only for Montpellier to equalize in the 21st when Lorient center half Johan Martial put the ball in his own net when he sliced a clearance.
Nigeria winger John Utaka hit the winner in the 57th with a confident finish after running onto midfielder Younes Belhanda's pass.
Evian's much-needed win moved it three points clear of the relegation places, with 36-year-old midfielder Cedric Barbosa scoring both goals.
Evian is one place behind Ajaccio, which went ahead through Romania forward Adrian Mutu's 31st-minute free kick, his third goal since joining the club. Ajaccio sealed the win when Reims defender Mickael Tacalfred put the ball into his own net in the 77th.
In Tuesday's matches, Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit a hat trick as PSG thrashed Valenciennes 4-0 away from home, taking his tally to 17 league goals in only 14 games since joining from AC Milan.
Also, it was: Nice 1, Rennes 0; and Lille 2, Toulouse 0.