Montpellier held at home by Toulouse

Montpellier's position at the top of Ligue 1 is under threat after they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Toulouse on Saturday.

Geoffrey Dernis's early opener for the hosts was cancelled out shortly before half-time by Cheikh Mbengue to leave Montpellier on 37 points from 18 games.

Olympique Lyon moved up to third on 35 points after a Lisandro Lopez second-half goal earned them a 2-1 home win against Evian Thonon Gaillard.

Saint-Etienne snatched a 2-1 win at Dijon as Les Verts went up to fifth on 30 points.

Olympique Marseille kept their faint Ligue 1 title hopes alive when late goals by Mathieu Valbuena and Benoit Cheyrou gave them a 2-1 home win against Lorient, who played an hour with 10 men after Lamine Kone picked up a red card.

Valbuena cancelled out Innocent Emeghara's opener in the 84th minute, with Cheyrou giving OM all three points five minutes into stoppage time, just after Lorient had Alaixys Romao sent off.

Eighth-placed Marseille trail the leaders by nine points.

DERNIS STRIKES

Montpellier dominated throughout but failed to bounce back with a win after losing to lowly Valenciennes last weekend.

Rene Girard's side went in front in the seventh minute when a John Utaka attempt was parried away by Ali Ahamada into the path of midfielder Dernis (pictured), who poked the ball home.

However, Dernis was partly at fault for the equaliser when he lost the ball in midfield to Mbengue and the Senegal defender raced through to beat Geoffrey Jourdren with a splendid curling shot to make it 1-1 five minutes from the interval.

Toulouse, who are sixth behind Saint-Etienne on goals scored, held on, with Etienne Capoue twice clearing the danger on his own goal line in the closing stages.

Montpellier will be looking anxiously at the teams behind them in the last round of matches before the winter break next week after Lyon claimed their fourth league win in a row.

Jimmy Briand opened the scoring from close range in the 35th minute but Evian hit back two minutes before the break with a cross shot from Yannick Sagbo after he collected a through ball.

However, Lyon's Argentine striker Lisandro got on the end of Briand's cross 20 minutes from time to head a deserved winner.