Nice, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Marseille squandered an opportunity to move to the top of Ligue 1 on Friday after the club suffered a 2-1 defeat against 10-man Nice at the Stade Municipal du Ray.
Marseille entered the contest one point behind leaders Lyon with 44 points, and a win would have taken them back to the summit, two points clear, but the defeat leaves them in second place and hands Lyon the opportunity to widen their margin on Sunday against Metz.
After a tense but scoreless first half, the hosts struck first in the 47th minute through an outstanding strike from Romain Genevois.
Despite taking the lead, things became more difficult for Nice when Kevin Gomis was shown two yellow cards in a span of three minutes and sent off, reducing the hosts to ten men.
The hosts then doubled their lead despite playing down a man in the 73rd minute through Niklas Hult. Marseille pulled one back four minutes later through Florian Thauvin, but it wasn't enough as under-manned Nice came away with all three points.
The result sees Nice improve to ninth place in Ligue 1 with 31 points from 22 matches played.
Also in Ligue 1 this weekend, two-time defending champions Paris Saint-Germain travel to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard to face fourth-place Saint Etienne on Sunday hoping to inch closer to the top spot.
After a shocking 4-2 loss to Bastia in league play on Jan. 10, Laurent Blanc's club bounced back nicely with a three match winning streak across league and cup competitions, including a 2-1 win over Bordeaux in Coupe de France play on Wednesday, as well as a comprehensive 4-2 win over Evian last Sunday.
Edinson Cavani opened the scoring for PSG after 13 minutes and Javier Pastore doubled the lead just past the half hour mark. Diego Rolan pulled one back for Bordeaux one minute into the second half, but they couldn't find an equalizer as PSG moved to the next round.
"The essential thing was to qualify, which we did. So we can be happy with that," said Blanc. "We played well in the first half, scoring two goals. The second half was less good, so we will analyze all that. But I repeat, the essential thing was to qualify."
"It was a very difficult match, but the team worked very hard and very well. The most important thing was to qualify for the next round to continue the adventure," said Cavani. "Personally, I felt good. I am slowly getting my rhythm back. I hope to be quickly back to 100 percent to help my teammates as best I can to reach our goals."
Saint Etienne will be hoping for a second consecutive win across league and cup play when they host PSG after knocking off Ligue 2 side Tours 5-3 in extra time during the week.
A win for Les Verts will take the club to 43 points, two better than PSG and into third place in the table.
Also on Sunday's slate of matches, Lyon will aim to bounce back from a 3-2 loss to Nantes in the Coupe de France on Tuesday and claim a seventh straight win in league play.
Evian hosts Toulouse hoping to a three-point effort to jump out of the relegation zone, while Reims hosts Lens at the Stade Auguste Delaune II, and Rennes battles Caen at the Stade de la Route de Lorient.
On Saturday, Lille battles Monaco at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole, Bastia hosts Bordeaux at the Stade Armand-Cesari, Guingamp welcomes Lorient to the Stade du Roudourou and Montpellier battles Nantes at the Stade de la Mosson.