French league leader Lille had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Lorient on Sunday, extending its winless streak in the championship to three matches.
With six rounds remaining this season, Lille leads defending champion Marseille by two points but has played one more match. Marseille successfully defended its League Cup title with a 1-0 win over Montpellier in Saturday’s final and can knock Lille off the top with a win against Nice on Wednesday.
Mathieu Debuchy put Lille ahead in the 41st minute against the run of the play, after its goalkeeper Mickael Landreau had made several decisive saves.
Kevin Gameiro leveled for Lorient in the 67th before Lille midfielder Eden Hazard hit the post five minutes from the end.
"I have mixed feelings. We could have lost this match but Mickael Landreau made the saves we needed in the first half," Lille coach Rudi Garcia said. "And we could also have won it in the last 15 minutes. But we lost possession a lot and we failed collectively."
Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of winning the French league were meanwhile dealt a blow with a 2-2 draw at Brest. PSG missed the opportunity to win a third straight game for the first time this season and remained fourth in the standings behind Lyon, which hosts Montpellier on Wednesday.
Both Lyon and PSG trail Lille by seven points but third-placed Lyon has a better goal difference.
Also Sunday, it was: Auxerre 1, Lens 1; Bordeaux 2, Saint-Etienne 0; Caen 1, Toulouse 1; Monaco 1, Rennes 0; Nancy 0, Arles 0; and Valenciennes 1, Sochaux 1.
Lille got off to a slow start and nearly paid the price in the 11th minute when Gameiro got behind its defenders and hit the post with a right-footed shot.
Lorient midfielder Arnold Mvuemba tried his luck from long range after France defender Adil Rami lost the ball in his own half, forcing Landreau to make a good diving save to his left.
Landreau was decisive again in the 27th minute when he parried a deflected shot from Gameiro before a strike from Francis Coquelin was blocked on the line by defender Aurelien Chedjou.
A turning point came in the 41st minute when Gameiro lost a one-on-one with Landreau, just seconds before Debuchy broke the deadlock by steering home Moussa Sow’s cross at the far post.
Lorient kept pushing forward in the second half and its fighting spirit finally brought an equalizer in the 67th minute when Gameiro played a one-two with Amalfitano and fired home a volley from close range.
However, Lille nearly grabbed a late winner following a quickly-taken free kick, when Hazard found himself in a good position but saw his low shot from a tight angle hit the right-hand post.
At Brest, the home side created several half-chances in the early stages before Mathieu Bodmer put PSG ahead with a 20-meter free kick in the 20th minute.
Jeremy Clement came close to adding a second goal four minutes later when he forced Brest goalkeeper Steeve Elana into a superb save with a powerful strike from the edge of the box.
Dominating possession, PSG was again a threat in the next minute when defender Siaka Tiene tried his luck from a tight angle only to see Elana deny him.
But Antoine Kombouare’s team was dealt a blow in the 34th minute when former France goalkeeper Gregory Coupet sustained what seemed to be a back injury and was replaced by Apoula Edel.
Edel immediately conceded a penalty for a clumsy foul on Larsen Toure. Edel parried away Bruno Grougi’s spot-kick but Toure scored from the rebound to level in the 37th minute.
PSG coach Antoine Kombouare criticized Edel for his blunder.
"Replacing Greg (Coupet) hurt us because we conceded two goals in the first half," Kombouare said. "Edel’s mistake shouldn’t have happened. But he had just came in without warming up. I was hoping my players would help him get into the match, but we were below par in defense."
Brest took the lead in stoppage time before the break following a swift counterattack concluded by Grougi, who latched onto Toure’s cross to slip the ball between Edel’s legs.
Brest could have moved further in front as Edel looked hesitant again in the 49th minute and didn’t go for the ball after Nolan Roux crossed into the box. However, the PSG ‘keeper was lucky enough to see midfielder Benoit Lemoisier’s header flying just wide.
PSG’s efforts were finally rewarded in the 87th when France striker Guillaume Hoarau surged between two defenders and headed a cross from the left – only for defender Ahmed Kantari to score with a handball in the confusion.
Bordeaux – which has dropped 24 points at home this season – claimed its first victory in six matches with goals from Jaroslav Plasil and Cheick Tidiane Diabate.