Marseille held by St Etienne
A review of the weekend's action in the French Ligue 1.
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Brandao's stoppage-time equaliser ensured St Etienne clung on to fourth place in Ligue 1 with a dramatic 1-1 draw against Marseille on Sunday night.
Nicolas N'Koulou's first goal of the season had looked to have given the visitors all three points at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, but Brandao levelled in added time against his former club to prevent Christophe Gaultier's men from dropping below their opponents.
Lyon put their midweek Coupe de France disappointment behind them with a comfortable 3-1 win over struggling Ajaccio at the Stade Gerland.
After seeing his side dumped out of the cup by Ligue 2 Lens on Thursday, Remi Garde will have been looking for a response got one when Gueida Fofana opened the scoring just before half-time.
Jimmy Briand doubled the hosts' lead with just over 20 minutes played and, despite Dennis Oliech pulling one back for the struggling Corsican side, Bafetimbi Gomis made sure of all three points just before the end.
Ryan Mendes' injury-time leveller denied Evian their first victory in nine Ligue 1 matches to secure a 2-2 draw for third-placed Lille.
Cedric Mongongu's second-half penalty looked like being the difference between the two sides after Divock Origi had cancelled out Kevin Berigaud's opener to level the scores level at the break.
However, Mendes popped up with just seconds to go to break the hosts' hearts and claim a vital point in the race for a European spot.
Pascal Dupraz's side looked like opening up a crucial five-point gap on Valenciennes, who occupy the final relegation place in 17th, but it remains to be seen how important Mendes' equaliser could be come the end of the season.
On Saturday, Monaco responded to Paris St Germain's Friday night win over Valenciennes by beating Bastia to remain within five points at the Ligue 1 summit.
James Rodriguez scored a brilliant brace in Monaco's 2-0 success, a free-kick in first-half stoppage time followed by a solo goal 13 minutes from time.
The result extended Monaco's unbeaten run to nine matches in all competitions and lifted them nine points ahead of third-placed Lille, who travel to Evian on Sunday.
Nicolas De Preville scored the only goal as Reims moved up to sixth in the table following a 1-0 win over Bordeaux, who are their rivals for European qualification.
Defeat leaves Bordeaux five points and three places behind Reims, who trail fifth-placed Marseille on goal difference.
Stoppila Sunzu's late goal earned Sochaux a vital three points in their battle to beat relegation as they beat Guingamp 1-0.
The Zambia defender became the hosts' likeliest source of a goal as the game neared its conclusion, and finally found the breakthrough with six minutes remaining.
The win takes Herve Renard's 19th-placed side within eight points of their opponents and five behind 17th-placed Evian.
Montpellier came from behind twice to salvage a point against Rennes.
Ola Toivonen put Rennes ahead in the 10th minute and again in the 65th, Daniel Congre having equalised nine minutes after half-time.
It appeared the hosts were set for victory but Montpellier drew level again thanks to substitute Souleymane Camara's last-minute strike.
Toulouse came back from a goal down to defeat 10-man Lorient 3-1.
The game was only 24 minutes old when Lorient had Alain Traore sent off but despite that disadvantage they took the lead four minutes before half-time through Wesley Lautoa.
Wissam Ben Yedder levelled the scores just before the hour and further goals through Serge Aurier (73) and Martin Braithwaite (80) sealed the victory for the visitors.
Nantes were deducted three points this week but clawed one back from their goalless draw with Nice at the Allianz Riviera.
The north-west club were finally punished for fielding a suspended player, Abdoulaye Toure, in their August meeting with Bastia and the verdict dropped them to 11th in the table while handing the Corsicans a walkover victory.
Toulouse's win meant they slipped a further place to 12th after failing to take all three points from their trip to fellow mid-table campaigners Nice, who remain unbeaten at home in 2014 but risk being dragged into the battle to avoid relegation.