Marseille edges out Toulouse
Olympique Marseille's Jordan Ayew (right) chases Jonathan Zebina of Toulouse. Photo: Reuters
Andre-Pierre Gignac's first goal since his return from injury guided Marseille to a 1-0 win over nine-man Toulouse, as Elie Baup's side pulled level with Ligue 1 leaders Lyon on Saturday.
Gignac struck the game's only goal on 68 minutes after the hosts lost Cheikh M'Bengue and Franck Tabanou during the first half at Stade Municipal.
Victory for Marseille moved it onto 35 points, trailing Lyon only on goal difference, with the table-toppers set to play title-rivals Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital.
Meanwhile, Toulouse was dealt a sixth defeat in eight as its poor run of form saw the team plummet to 12th in the standings.
M'Bengue received a harsh straight red card for a lunge on Morgan Amalfitano on 25 minutes, while Toulouse goalkeeper Ali Ahamada saved a first-half penalty from Andre Ayew after Tabanou had impeded Jordan Ayew.
The home side was then reduced to nine men as Tabanou was sent off for a rash challenge from behind on Andre Ayew on the stroke of half-time, as Ahamada produced a couple of excellent saves from Joey Barton and Lucas Mendes to keep it goalless at the interval.
Ahamada added second-half substitute Gignac to the list of players he had foiled after the striker's shot took a deflection off Aymen Abdennour, but the former Toulouse man finally broke the deadlock on 68 minutes.
Gignac, who made a late cameo appearance in Wednesday's 2-1 win at Bastia after two months out with a foot fracture, cut in from the left and sent a superb curling effort into the top corner that finally broke Ahamada's impressive resistance.
Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda then made an acrobatic save to keep out Jonathan Zebina's close-range header, as Ahamada kept the home side in the game by twice preventing Loic Remy from increasing the visitors' lead.
Emmanuel Riviere was presented with a chance to salvage a point for Toulouse deep into stoppage-time, but Mandanda clawed away his near-post attempt to preserve Marseille's slender advantage.