PARIS (AFP) - Lyon paid the price for taking French League One strugglers Nantes too lightly, giving a trio of possible title rivals hope of limiting the seven-times champions' advantage in the lead-up to Christmas.
Leaders Lyon are already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League but unexpectedly fell 2-1 at Nantes.
In a match dominated by the champions Frederic Piquionne fired home for Lyon from a close range rebound after Jerome Alonzo had spilled a Kim Kallstrom free-kick in the 43rd minute.
However the 'Canaries', returning to top flight action this season, took full advantage of their few opportunities, which were given a boost by a controversial penalty decision.
The hosts levelled in the 59th minute after Ivan Klasnic slipped the ball into an empty net after Hugo Lloris pushed the ball into his path following a duel with midfielder Aurelien Capoue.
Klasnic then stepped up to score a controversial 89th-minute winner from the penalty spot following a duel between Nantes' Mamadou Bagayoko and Marseille's Lamine Gassanah which appeared to conclude on the edge of the box.
Lyon coach Claude Puel certainly felt short-changed.
While his player bemoaned the penalty that "did not exist", Puel said: "We didn't stay fully concentrated till the end of the match.
"We gave them an inch and they took us a mile. At our level, we should be able to control these kind of matches better. We dominated and should have taken all three points."
The presence of Rennes, who slipped from second to third after a 1-1 draw at Caen, must be less worrying for Lyon than the presence of Marseille who overcame a resolute Nice side 2-1.
They are now just three points off the lead while last year's runners-up Bordeaux ran out 2-1 winners over basement side Valenciennes and are five points adrift of Lyon.
Marseille will play Lyon next week and a win, thanks to their superior goals difference, would put them top.
Both side will be in Champions League action this week. Marseille are hoping for a home win against Atletico Madrid in a bid to finish third in group D and seal a UEFA Cup place while Lyon face Bayern Munich hoping to seal first place in group F.
Still reeling from the news of the three and a half year jail term handed to one of their 'ultra' supporters in Spain, Santos Mirasierra, Marseille finally seem capable of giving Lyon a run for their money this season.
"We deserved the win," said Marseille coach Eric Gerets, who nevertheless did not welcome the news that star striker Mahamadou Niang will be out till the end of January with a fractured ankle.
"Apart from the first few minutes we dominated the first half. In the second, after (Mahamadou) Niang went off and some players tired it was a bit more difficult."
On Sunday another league heavyweight, Paris Saint Germain, stole some of the limelight thanks to Guillaume Hoarau, who scored a brace in the 3-1 win over Le Mans at Parc des Princes.
The forward, from the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, took his league tally to 10 goals to pull ahead of Lyon striker Karim Benzema and Bordeaux striker Fernando Cavenaghi, both of whom have nine goals apice.
A ninth victory of the season for PSG, who just avoided relegation last season, moved them up to fifth only five points adrift of Lyon.
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