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Marseille's hopes of catching French pace-setters Paris Saint Germain took a knock on Sunday after the 2010 champions could only manage a 1-1 draw at modest Evian after finishing with nine men.
Andre-Pierre Gignac scored five minutes after the break, playing a one-two with Mathieu Valbuena, for the 1993 European champions for his eighth goal of the season.
But their hopes of a win bonus evaporated when Yannick Sagbo levelled on the hour from the penalty spot.
The spotkick came following a foul on Saber Khlifa by Kassim Abdallah, for which the latter, an international defender for the Comoros Islands, saw red as the last defender.
Marseille also had Ghanaian star Jordan Ayew sent off with 15 minutes remaining for two yellow cards in quick succession after coming on as a substitute and were unable to do better than glean only their second point in their last three league matches, leaving coach Elie Baup frustrated.
"It's not enough as you always hope to win. We could have done but then we ended up down to nine men. I did see some interesting elements for the future."
On Ayew's swift dismissal Baup said: "You have to be careful once you're on a booking. He's young and impulsive but this will help him to mature. It's a painful learning process for everyone. These are things which can be avoided," Baup reflected.
Marseille also suffered from the absence through a foot injury of Ayew's brother Andre and suspended English midfielder Joey Barton.
The draw leaves Marseille eight points adrift of PSG and two behind second-placed Lyon, who later Sunday were up against Lille while European hopefuls Rennes were hosting Toulouse.
PSG, looking forward to a second half of the season with David Beckham on board, beat Bastia 3-1 at the Parc des Princes on Friday, Jeremy Menez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi all on target.
Evian meanwhile exited the bottom three on goal average as they moved above Sochaux, level on points with Reims.
On Saturday, former giants Saint-Etienne overcame blizzard-like conditions in the Rhone-Alpes region to move fourth with a 4-1 home win over reigning champions Montpellier.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 11th goal of the campaign and Brandao, Yohan Mollo and Mathieu Bodmer helping extend Les Verts' winning streak to four games and they now stand just three points behind Marseille.