Paris (AFP) – Marseille slipped to a surprise 2-0 loss to struggling Clermont at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday to miss the chance to strengthen their grip on a top-three place.
Jorge Sampaoli’s second-placed side had won their last two games to move four points clear of third-placed Nice and five ahead of fourth-placed Strasbourg coming into the weekend.
Nice edged out Angers 1-0, but Strasbourg were held to a 2-2 draw at Saint-Etienne.
But Marseille passed up the opportunity to create a seven-point buffer to Strasbourg, as goals in either half from Mohamed Bayo and Jim Allevinah gave Clermont a third win in four league games.
OM had few clear-cut chances despite dominating possession, with Dimitri Payet’s shot which was saved by Ouparine Djoco shortly before half-time the closest they came to a goal.
Victory would have moved the hosts to within 10 points of Paris Saint-Germain after the capital giants’ 3-1 loss at Nantes on Saturday, but the runaway leaders remain 13 points clear.
Earlier, Justin Kluivert scored as Nice won at home to Angers.
The Dutch winger’s smart finish on 19 minutes was his third goal in as many games.
Nice had lost their past two league games but put an end to their slide despite Khephren Thuram and Andy Delort having goals ruled out by VAR.
“We wanted to start the match strongly and try to score quickly,” said Delort.
“It’s a shame the two goals were disallowed because we wanted to put the match to bed, but I think we controlled it from start to finish.”
Christophe Galtier’s side visit Strasbourg next weekend and then play fourth-tier Versailles in the semi-finals of the French Cup on March 1.
Strasbourg, whose only European Cup appearance came when they reached the quarter-finals in 1979-80, lost ground on Nice with their draw against Saint-Etienne.
Ryad Boudebouz gave Saint-Etienne an early lead but Strasbourg struck twice through Habib Diallo and Lucas Perrin before Wahbi Khazri’s equaliser earned the hosts a point.
“We keep the points tally ticking over with one more. The dynamic is very positive with 16 points from 21 since the start of 2022,” said Strasbourg coach Julien Stephan.
“We won’t be favourites against Nice because we weren’t expected to be where we are in the standings unlike them.”
Rennes are two points behind Strasbourg following a 4-1 win over Troyes, while Bordeaux drew 1-1 against Monaco in David Guion’s first game in charge.
Remi Oudin opened the scoring for Bordeaux, who played almost an hour with an extra man after Aurelien Tchouameni’s red card, but an own goal by Marcelo denied them victory.
Montpellier won 1-0 at Lorient and Reims drew 1-1 with Brest.
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