Marseille remain unbeaten five games into the 2023/24 Ligue 1 Uber Eats season, but they had to settle for a point at home to Toulouse with a goalless draw on Sunday. Elsewhere, Brest are in second place after winning at Reims.
Both teams have UEFA Europa League challenges to start on Thursday - Marseille go to Ajax while Toulouse have the slightly shorter trip to Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium - and after stumbling into the international break with draws, the pair were no doubt looking for some confidence to take into their continental jousts.
Marseille had won the duo's last eight league games, and nearly half of their 88 top-flight contests, but it wasn't until Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tested Guillaume Restes with nearly half-an-hour gone (28') that the home side looked like they might threaten to extend that streak.
Toulouse, fortified by a run of just one loss in their last seven away trips stretching back to last season, comfortably kept the hosts at arm's length, and even produced their own promising moments in the OM final third: Pau Lopez turned aside Niklas Schmidt's first-time volley (37') to keep the scores level at half-time.
Restes came into the game with a 50% save ratio - the lowest in the league - but the Toulouse goalkeeper certainly had luck on his side when Valentin Rongier turned a Jonathan Clauss cross onto a post when the OM captain seemed destined to score (57'). It was the fifth time Marseille have found the woodwork this season, the fourth that Toulouse's opponents have done so, both division-high tallies.
Toulouse's luck held out and Thijs Dallinga may even have won it late on (86'), but sent his close-range shot over the crossbar, and Mamady Bangré also should have done better in added time (90+4') as OM - who defeated Toulouse 6-1 last season - escaped with a point ahead of next weekend's Classique with Paris Saint-Germain.
THE PLAYER: Guillaume Restes
Following in the footsteps of another teenage prodigy in the Toulouse goal, Alban Lafont, Restes, 18, again showed why the club were right to put their fate in his hands this season. Freshly capped by France at U21 level, his is a name you'll be hearing a lot more of in the next 10-15 years.
THE STAT: 24
Marseille attempted 24 shots in this game, their highest tally without scoring since December 2009. OM have now had 101 goal attempts this season, 14 more than any other side.
Elsewhere, Brest bounced back from conceding the opening goal at Reims - the only Ligue 1 Uber Eats side to have done so twice already this season - to win and move ahead of Nice and to within a point of league leaders Monaco. Amir Richardson scored with his very first shot on target in the French top flight to put the hosts ahead (19'), but Brest found the net twice in quick succession after the half-time interval to maintain their upward trajectory. Mahdi Camara (50') and Pierre Lees-Melou (56') struck to earn Eric Roy's men a third win from their opening five games, a first in their 18-season top-flight history.
Nantes picked up their first win of the new campaign thanks to Moses Simon's second-half goal at Clermont. The Nigerian forward found the net three minutes after the interval when Florent Mollet intercepted Mory Diaw's poor clearance, and teed up Simon to send a long-distance lob over the unfortunate Clermont goalkeeper and into the net. But his strike would have counted for nothing had Muhammed Cham, who had earlier had a goal ruled out, scored a penalty six minutes into added time awarded following a foul by Eray Comert on Shamar Nicholson. The Austrian sent his powerfully struck effort over Rémy Descamps' crossbar, however, to give Pierre Aristouy's men a welcome three points.
Strasbourg were made to work hard for a point at home to Montpellier. Patrick Vieira's men had lost just one of their previous seven league games at the Stade de la Meinau, but found themselves two goals down as Wahbi Khazri (35') and Arnaud Nordin (40') struck in short order just before the half-time break. Montpellier have now scored 27 times away from home in Ligue 1 Uber Eats in 2023, but it was not enough to give Michel Der Zakarian's men all three points as Thomas Delaine's acrobatic effort ricocheted off a post and then the unfortunate Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte (63') to give the hosts a foothold in the game. Lebo Mothiba then struck shortly afterwards (69') to level. Emanuel Emegha headed against the crossbar for Strasbourg (86') and Khalil Fayad (90+4') had a goal ruled out in added time for Montpellier during a frantic finale.