Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain again failed to deliver without Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack as it slipped to an embarrassing 2-1 home defeat to Rennes on Saturday, failing to beat a side which played for most of the second half with nine players.
Although PSG still tops the league, it has only picked up one point from the last nine. Marseille is only behind on goal difference and has two games in hand, while Lyon is just one point behind PSG in third place, and Rennes provisionally in fourth after its sixth straight win.
None of those clubs has spent anything remotely close to the ?160 million PSG splurged on new players this season, adding to the already massive outlay of around ?106 million last term.
Marseille is away to Bordeaux on Sunday - where it has not won since 1977 - and Lyon hosts Reims.
Ibrahimovic was suspended for the match at Parc des Princes after being sent off in a 2-1 loss to Saint-Etienne, also at home.
Rennes had goalkeeper Benoit Costil red-carded after just 25 minutes with the score at 1-1, and then had midfielder Jean II Makoun sent off in the 51st.
Midfielder Romain Alessandrini continued his habit of scoring spectacular goals when he put the visitors ahead with a superb volley from 20 yards out.
Nene equalized midway through the first half with a clinical finish after being set up by playmaker Javier Pastore, with both players making a statement to coach Carlo Ancelotti after being dropped in recent games. Nene was last season's top scorer with 21 league goals, but has received little explanation for being left out of the starting lineup for more than half the games this term.
Last weekend, PSG drew 1-1 away to defending champion Montpellier after having center half Mamadou Sakho sent off in the ninth minute - prompting a rant from sporting director Leonardo and criticism of the referee from Ancelotti after the game. Both are set to appear before the French Football Federation's ethics committee for their comments.
But this time, Rennes was dealt a harsh blow when Costil was sent off for a foul on Jeremy Menez outside the penalty box.
Despite being a man down, Rennes took the lead in the 34th when Feret delightfully curled a free kick around the wall.
Makoun got his marching orders early into the second half. Moments before he was sent off, the Cameroon midfielder saw his header well saved by Salvatore Sirigu as Rennes kept attacking, even with a man less.
But tiredness kicked in and Rennes' players started to flag.
Center backs Thiago Silva and Alex went close with headers and substitute Guillaume Hoarau and Pastore hit the woodwork twice in 10 seconds as PSG desperately chased the equalizer.
Ancelotti brought on another forward in Kevin Gameiro as PSG poured forward. But substitute keeper Cheick N'Diaye held firm as he kept out efforts from Pastore, twice, Gameiro and Alex.