French Ligue One Roundup, Sep. 12
Marseille's poor start to the season continued on Sunday as the French league's defending champion failed to take its chances in a 2-2 draw at home to Monaco.
Marseille twice had to come from behind to avoid a third defeat in five league matches. Marseille has won only one game this season and is languishing in 13th place with five points, tied with another big club, Lyon.
Also Sunday, goals from Eric Mouloungui and Habib Bamogo gave Nice a 2-1 win over Bordeaux as the French Riviera club maintained its unbeaten start to the season and moved up to fourth in the standings.
Monaco, which is also unbeaten, went ahead against the run of the play when Daniel Niculae scored with a left-footed strike from a tight angle in the 15th minute.
Marseille winger Mathieu Valbuena went close in the 23rd with a low shot that forced goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier into a good save and threatened again five minutes later with a powerful header that flew just wide.
Marseille kept creating chances and Benoit Cheyrou headed over the crossbar in the 37th minute before Monaco defenders failed to clear Lucho Gonzalez's free kick five minute later. Valbuena latched on to the ball to unleash a thunderous drive in the top left corner.
Marseille wasted several other opportunities due to poor finishing in the second half and Chu Young Park thought he had given Monaco all three points after scoring at the end of a fast counterattack in the 79th minute.
But Monaco's Brazilian defender Adriano scored an own goal two minutes later after failing to clear Valbuena's shot from the right.
"Marseille is a very solid team," Monaco coach Guy Lacombe said. "We were a bit lucky to snatch a draw."
Nice, which has nine points from five matches, has lost only one game since coach Eric Roy replaced Didier Olle-Nicolle in March last season.
"Tonight I'm proud of my players," Roy said. "We managed to hang on to the result and this is really satisfying after we let victory slip away at our first two home games. We started this season really well but it will be difficult to last. We have to stay humble if we want to go far."
Anthony Modeste pulled a goal back for Bordeaux from the penalty spot in stoppage time. The 2009 champion is enduring a nightmarish run of form and slipped to 18th, with four points, after its third defeat of the season.
Bordeaux lost its coach Laurent Blanc - who took over as France new boss and was replaced by Jean Tigana - striker Marouane Chamakh and playmaker Yoann Gourcuff during the offseason.
"This is a worrying evening," Tigana said. "Our first half was catastrophic. It was better after halftime but we can't be satisfied with this. We need to work hard and ask ourselves a few questions because this was a non-match."
Nice dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes and created its first chance in the 20th minute after Mouloungui burst down the right and crossed in the box only to see defender Mathieu Chalme clear the ball.
Julien Sable then forced Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso to a good save with a right-footed volley before Mouloungui turned down Chalme in the box and slotted home with a powerful strike in the top-left corner in the 35th.
Bordeaux should have leveled in the 51st minute but Jaroslav Plasil missed the target from close range from Yoan Gouffran's precise cross after being left unmarked in the box.
Nice then put on a solid defensive display but was still threatening on the break with substitute Abdou Traore's fine effort denied by Carrasso in the 81st.
Bamogo coolly slotted home in stoppage time after being set up by Didier Digard. Modeste, who joined Bordeaux from Nice this summer, converted a penalty two minutes later.
Promoted Brest was held to a scoreless draw by Lorient.
On Saturday, Laurent Battles' goal gave Saint-Etienne a 1-0 win at leader Toulouse to end his former club's perfect record this season.
Saint-Etienne claimed its third win in five matches to move up to third overall with 10 points while Toulouse kept the overall lead with 12 points, one clear of Rennes, which beat Sochaux 2-1 from Abdou Kader Mangane's goal in stoppage time.
Paris Saint-Germain ended a three-game losing streak in all competitions with a 4-0 win over last-place Arles, while Lyon was held to a 1-1 home draw by Valenciennes.