Lyon saw their lead at the top of Ligue 1 cut to two points on Sunday but may count themselves fortunate to have come away from resurgent Monaco with a 0-0 draw.
Seven straight wins prior to Sunday saw Lyon surge to the top of the French League, where they have 49 points, but title rivals Marseille and Paris Saint Germain are both on 47 after wins for both this weekend.
Earlier Sunday, Saint Etienne went down 1-0 away to relegation strugglers Caen, but they stay fourth on 40 points, ahead of Monaco on goal difference.
Monaco have much to regret as Bulgarian veteran Dimitar Berbatov missed the best chance of the first half when heading onto the post from the six yard line with Lyon ‘keeper Anthony Lopez stranded.
Perhaps even more fortunately Moutinho’s stunning 50th minute free-kick was then disallowed after it flew into the goal without another player touching it.
Referee Benoit Millot had signalled it was an indirect free-kick.
Hubert Fournier, the Lyon coach, was content with the result saying: “The least you can say is we left Monaco with a nine- point lead over them.”
“But we needed a great deal of spirit and teamwork to get this draw even if we edged the first half they got better as the game advanced,” he added.
Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim however felt his side should have won.
“We had two great chances and we should have won. I’m not happy, but it was an even game in the end.”
Monaco’s Croatian ‘keeper Danijel Subasic has now gone 791 minutes, a record in the French top flight this season, without conceding a goal and played a key role in keeping the scores level in the first half.
He first saved a fierce long range drive from France international midfielder Yoann Gourcuff, cut the angle to deny Nabil Fekir from close range, and then stretched to parry a Corentin Tolisso free-kick all in the first half.
Both sides also lost key defenders with Lyon’s Serbian enforcer Milan Bisevac twisting a knee and Monaco’s Italian central defender Andrea Raggi also picking up a knock.
Raggi ripped off part of the Monaco dug out structure in his anger as he left the field and it was revealed after the game he had knee ligament damage that will keep him out at least six weeks.
In the Sunday afternoon game defender Clement Chantome made his debut for Bordeaux after closing a 15-year chapter with Paris Saint Germain with a transfer on Friday.
But his side drew 1-1 with Guingamp, whose striker Claudio Beauvue’s 11th league goal of the season was a peach, twisting on the edge of the area before dispatching a stunning shot into the bottom corner to open the scores on 28 minutes.
Maxime Poundje’s equaliser for Bordeaux on 56 minutes also helped justify the price of a match ticket, with a determined run and fierce shot.
Marseille climbed back to second on Saturday with a hard-fought 1-0 home win over plucky Evian.
The victory was secured when Andre-Pierre Gignac converted a 49th minute penalty, for his 14th goal of the season, after referee Frank Schneider awarded Marseille a controversial spot-kick when Dimitri Payet took a slight knock in the box.
On Friday, Ezequiel Lavezzi scored the only goal as champions Paris Saint-Germain edged Rennes 1-0 rounding off a fabulous piece of teamwork from the capital outfit.
The goal came on 29 minutes after a neat interchange of passes down the left between Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was involved twice, Adrien Rabiot and Javier Pastore.
The win was PSG’s sixth consecutive home win in all competitions while stretching their Ligue 1 record at the Parc des Princes to eight wins and three draws.
In other games Lille took a share of the spoils at Nantes in a 1-1 draw, Metz and Nice ended scoreless, Toulouse beat Reims 1-0 at home and Bastia drew 1-1 at Lens. – Agence France-Presse