Marseille continued their unbeaten start to the Ligue 1 season after a late Nicolas Pallois own goal gave them a 2-1 win over Nantes at the Velodrome on Saturday.
Alexis Sanchez made his home debut following his recent arrival in Marseille but the Chilean had been substituted by the time the game came to life in the final quarter.
An attempted shot by Jonathan Clauss broke to Chancel Mbemba in the box, and the Congolese former Newcastle United defender prodded home to put Marseille ahead 20 minutes from time.
Yet the home side, who had already seen Brazilian international midfielder Gerson hobble off with an apparent calf injury, then had Samuel Gigot sent off for a second yellow card for hauling Mostafa Mohamed to the ground and conceding a penalty.
Ludovic Blas smashed in the spot-kick to equalise for Nantes with 12 minutes left, only for Marseille’s 10 men to score the winner in the 82nd minute.
Sanchez had gone off, but Dimitri Payet had come on and his shot deflected off Pallois and looped up into the air, falling for fellow substitute Luis Suarez to head towards goal.
The ball then went in off the face of Pallois to make it 2-1, and Marseille — whose new coach Igor Tudor has been jeered by supporters before both home matches so far this season — have seven points out of a possible nine.
“For sure it was not a boring game,” former Croatia defender Tudor, speaking in English, told broadcaster Canal Plus.
“In the end it was a victory of character, of will to win and of our quality.”
Lens also have seven points from three games after a stunning 4-1 win in Monaco earlier on Saturday.
Belgian international Lois Openda gave Lens an early lead in the principality and Deiver Machado made it 2-0, with Benoit Badiashile reducing the deficit before half-time.
However, Lens restored their two-goal advantage 10 minutes into the second half as Seko Fofana converted a penalty after Florian Sotoca had been brought down by Breel Embolo.
Brazilian full-back Vanderson was then sent off for a second yellow card to leave Monaco to play out the final 18 minutes a man short at the Stade Louis II.
Their misery was compounded as substitute Wesley Said blasted in a fourth for Lens in the 78th minute.
It is third season running in which Lens have won in Monaco. They also denied Monaco second place in the table and automatic qualification for the Champions League group stage when they scored an injury-time equaliser to draw 2-2 on the final night of last season.
Philippe Clement’s Monaco side — who had won nine league games in a row before that match — were then dumped out of Europe’s elite club competition by PSV Eindhoven in the third qualifying round earlier this month.
They have four points from their first three Ligue 1 outings in this campaign.
Reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain have the chance to go above Lens and Marseille into top spot when they visit Lille on Sunday.
Lyon won 4-1 at home to Troyes on Friday.