A first half strike from South Korean forward Park Chu-young ensured leader Lille suffered just its fourth defeat of the season as Monaco moved out of the drop zone in French league action on Saturday.
Lille has lost an important tie with a view to claiming its first league title in 53 years, as it could see its lead cut to just one point should champion Marseille win at home to Toulouse on Sunday.
Lille has 58 points from 30 games with Marsille four points behind and Rennes, who travel to Brest later on Saturday, on 51. Lyon, in fourth, hosts Lens on Sunday.
The leaders were reduced to 10 men after 37 minutes when Gervinho was given his marching orders, as their rivals showed a battling spirit which ensured they move out of the relegation zone in 14th place.
Monaco got off to an attacking start with Lille’s defenders deflecting out an early effort from Cameroonian Benjamin Moukandjo after seven minutes.
But it was a nightmare return from injury for Lille’s Adil Rami as his poor back pass to goalie Mickael Landreau allowed Park score the winning goal.
Park made no mistake, picking up the pass to fire past Landreau in the Lille goal for his 11th goal of the season.
Monaco’s Park Chu-young (right) and Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy vie for the ball. (AFP-Yonhap News)
Manchester United moved closer to a record 19th league title Saturday by beating Fulham 2-0. Three teams fighting to remain in the English Premier League ― West Ham, Wigan and Wolverhampton ― all lost.
United was backed by goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia and is 10 points ahead of Arsenal, which has two games in hand.
“It was a result, but I wouldn’t say it was a job well done at all,” United manager Alex Ferguson said. “We were a bit casual and lackadaisical.”
United made eight changes from its lineup that beat Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday. United will be looking to protect a 1-0 lead in the quarterfinal second leg Tuesday.
Chelsea moved ahead of Manchester City into third place after a 1-0 victory over last-place Wigan. Wolverhampton and West Ham are a point ahead of Wigan and both lost 3-0. Wolves fell at home to Everton and West Ham was beaten at Bolton. (AP) Spain
Lionel Messi scored twice to tie his career best of 47 goals in a season, and Barcelona rallied for a 3-1 victory over last-place Almeria in the Spanish league. Barcelona maintained its eight-point advantage over second-place Real Madrid, which beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0.
Almeria took the lead in the 50th when Miguel “Corona” Garcia scored on a counterattack. Messi tied it on a penalty kick three minutes later and in the 64th served a corner kick for Thiago Alcantara to head in. (AP)