Toulouse beats Rennes 1-0 to move into fourth spot

JEROME PUGMIRE AP Sports Writer Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Toulouse beat Rennes 1-0 in a scrappy game to climb to fourth place in the French league, while Sochaux moved off the bottom of the table after beating fellow strugglers Nice 2-0 on Sunday.

Toulouse scored just before the break when striker Emmanuel Riviere's shot was turned into his own net by Rennes defender Romain Danze. Rennes striker Jires Kembo-Ekoko missed two good chances to equalize for the home side and Toulouse held on for the win.

Toulouse moved level on 47 points with third-place Lille, which was playing Valenciennes at home later Sunday.

"You dream about third place, but we're not going to think about it," Toulouse captain Daniel Congre said after his team's third straight away win. "We just have to keep going the way we are without putting ourselves under pressure."

Rennes is in seventh place, two points behind Saint-Etienne and Lyon.

"You can't fall behind against this kind of team. Our teamwork wasn't there and we lost the midfield battle," Antonetti said. "They were stronger than us. Toulouse deserved to win."

Striker Edouard Butin gave Sochaux the lead on the stroke of halftime with his sixth goal of the season, and midfielder Marvin Martin scored midway through the second half as Sochaux leapfrogged over Auxerre.

Auxerre, which sacked manager Laurent Fournier on Sunday morning, is now in last place. Former Lens coach Jean-Guy Wallemme was chosen to replace Fournier.

On Saturday, PSG scraped a 2-2 draw away to Caen thanks to an injury-time equalizer, but still moved two points clear at the top of the standings after second-place Montpellier lost 1-0 at Nancy.

Rennes could have taken fourth place with a win, but coach Frederic Antonetti's side labored against the well-organized Toulouse.

Winger Jonathan Pitroipa caused most of the problems for Toulouse's defense in a better second half. He twice set up Kembo-Ekoko, but the striker poked his first effort wide and goalkeeper Ali Ahamada smothered his next effort.

As Rennes pushed forward, Kembo-Ekoko missed another chance, and Toulouse almost added a second through midfielder Etienne Didot.

Sochaux, winning for the second straight match since former coach Mehmed Bazdarevic was sacked, took the lead with a well-worked goal.

David Sauget's raking cross-field pass was expertly taken down by right back Sebastien Corchia and he passed neatly to Vincent Nogueira, whose cross to the near post was turned in by Butin before goalkeeper David Ospina could react.

Martin made it 2-0 in the 68th with his first goal since the opening game of the season.

Martin, who scored twice on his France debut at Ukraine last June, skipped past right back Francois Clerc and curled a shot past Ospina.