PARIS (AP) — Lyon handed the initiative back to French leader Paris Saint-Germain by being held to a 0-0 home draw by Marseille in a lackluster French league match on Sunday.
Second-place Lyon hardly mustered a shot on target and failed to break down a resilient Marseille team that is fighting to hold on to third spot. The draw puts PSG four points ahead of Lyon at the top with 10 rounds remaining. PSG, which lost last weekend, labored to a 2-1 home win against Nancy on Saturday.
"We have to start winning games at (Stade) Gerland if we want to last the pace, and I think that's what will happen," Lyon coach Remi Garde said. "It was important to win this game and we tried everything in the second half. It wasn't very exciting but in terms of intensity we gave everything we could and that's what I told my players."
Marseille started the game brightly before quickly fading and is seven points adrift of PSG and only two ahead of Saint-Etienne and Nice. Forward Modou Sougou cut in from the right wing early on, beating two players before his shot was deflected wide for a corner, and striker Andre-Pierre Gignac curled an effort just wide moments later after swapping passes with Mathieu Valbuena.
Lyon struggled to get going as Marseille's midfield, led by the tireless Joey Barton, won most of the tackles. "Neither team wanted to concede the first goal. Marseille closed us down very high up and we really couldn't play," Garde said. "I didn't think they would close us down so high up. We couldn't pass the ball out from the back and our players were too far apart from each other."
Lyon started the second half with more urgency and midfielder Gueida Fofana went close with a toe-poke just wide in the 53rd, and Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda was finally called into action into the 68th when he kept out center back Samuel Umtiti's shot.
Marseille missed a great chance moments later when Andre Ayew headed Valbuena's corner just wide, before the match fizzled out completely. "We were very well organized and used the ball well. We were just missing that goal," Marseille coach Elie Baup said. "We have to show greater efficiency and start taking our chances better."
In Sunday's other matches, Nice beat defending champion Montpellier 2-0, and Bordeaux won for the first time in five games by beating Bastia 1-0. Stephane Bahoken scored his first goals in professional football for fifth-place Nice against defending champion Montpellier.
The 20-year-old striker was making his first start after a handful of substitute appearances for coach Claude Puel's side and scored in the 12th minute when he slid in to turn in Eric Bautheac's cross from the left, and then headed in a rebound off the post midway through the half.
Nice is level on points with fourth-place Saint-Etienne, which has a better goal difference. Also, Bordeaux won thanks to striker Cheick Diabate's second-half winner, which came shortly after Ludovic Obraniak had hit the crossbar for the hosts.
Diabate made a sharp run to the near post and flicked in a cross from the right past goalkeeper Mickael Landreau. The win moved Bordeaux up to ninth place. "We'd lost our past four league games, so we had to put an end to that tonight," Obraniak said. "Even though it was a bit laborious at times, this win will be good for our confidence."