PARIS: David Beckham was sent off six minutes after being introduced as nine-man Paris Saint-Germain struggled to a 1-0 win over Evian in a bad-tempered affair which also saw Marco Verratti dismissed and a mass brawl break out after the final whistle.
Former England captain Beckham was shown a straight red card deep into stoppage time after a dangerous lunge on home substitute Youssef Adnane.
PSG assistant coach Claude Makelele was sent to the stands for remonstrating and emotions continued to run high after the final whistle, when Evian striker Saber Khelifa and PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu were involved in a scuffle which saw both also dismissed.
The scenes overshadowed the rest of the match, during which Javier Pastore’s 50th-minute goal had proved decisive as PSG re-established their nine-point advantage over second-placed Marseille with four games left.
Lyon remained favourites to finish third as they fought back to draw 1-1 at home to fourth-placed regional rivals Saint-Etienne.
A second-half Yoann Gourcuff strike cancelled out Kurt Zouma’s opener for Les Verts as Lyon missed out on a third successive league win but stayed on course for Champions League qualification.
The visitors were guilty of wasting a succession of chances and will be disappointed to not get the win which would have seen them leapfrog their rivals.
Nice came from behind to beat bottom club Troyes 3-1 and keep the pressure on Lyon.
Despite trailing to a 21st minute Mohamed Yattara goal, Claude Puel’s men clawed their way back thanks to goals from Renato Civelli, Dario Cvitanich and Luigi Bruins.
Nice’s third win in four takes them level on points with fifth-placed Lille and just three points behind Lyon while Troyes remain rooted to the foot of Ligue 1 six points from safety.
On Saturday, Marseille kept the title race just about alive as Mathieu Valbuena’s first-half goal earned them a 1-0 victory at Lorient. It was a fourth 1-0 win in five games for Marseille, and their 12th of the season – equalling PSG’s Ligue 1 record.
That match also ended in anger with Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard and Ayew sent off for clashing after the final whistle.
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