A week after coach Fabio Grosso was injured in an assault by Marseille fans, Lyon remain winless but clawed back a 1-1 home draw with fellow strugglers Metz, as Nice reclaimed top spot and Monaco beat Brest on Saturday.
Champions League semi-finalists as recently as 2020, Lyon are adrift with four draws and six defeats in the French top flight this season.
Adding injury to insult, Lyon were ambushed outside the Marseille stadium last week and their Italian coach Grosso was hit in the face by a projectile that smashed through the team bus window.
On Sunday, in Grosso's fifth match in charge since taking over from Laurent Blanc, Lyon fell 1-0 behind to Ablie Jallow's long-range snap-shot that pinged in off the post on 77 minutes.
Grosso cut a stark figure pitchside with stitches in his eyebrow and a black eye, but he would soon have something to smile about.
Giant Lyon striker Skelly Alvero saved a point for the hosts with his own long-range shot on 84 minutes, giving the Lyon faithful something to cheer.
Nonetheless, Grosso predicts a tough slog ahead.
"The longer it takes the harder it's going to be," said Grosso, who won the 2006 World Cup as a player with Italy.
"The players are too tense to show their true colours. We have to keep working at it."
- Nice reclaim first -
The final fixture of the 11th matchday of the Ligue 1 season ended 2-0 to Nice, allowing the south coast side to move back up to first place in the table.
A Jeremie Boga goal right on the stroke of half-time and a late, unlucky own goal by Steve Mandanda sufficed to ensure the Aigles restored their one-point lead at the summit.
There was little difference between the two sides in the first half, with the third-placed hosts edging affairs on chances.
The match seemed destined to go into the break goalless, until Lorenz Assignon was unable to clear, and Boga slipped the ball past Mandanda in the Rennes goal.
Nice looked to be cruising in the second half until a wild lounge from Youssouf Ndayishimiye was upgraded by VAR to a red card with a quarter of an hour left.
Rennes pressed but soon went down to 10 themselves when a quick counter was abruptly ended by Warmed Omari just outside his own box.
The resulting clipped free-kick from Sofiane Diop hit the crossbar, rebounded off the diving keeper's head and went in for an own goal in the 87th minute.
"I'm very proud of the team as a whole," said Nice coach Francesco Farioli. "They played excellently."
- Monaco bounce back -
Monaco returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over visiting Brest.
A headed goal by Denis Zakaria and a Aleksandr Golovin strike were enough for Monaco to rebound from last weekend's loss at Lille and move up to second.
"It was an even game, we could have lost too, but it's good to win after last week's defeat," said Monaco boss Adi Huetter.
Jeremy Le Douaron put the ball in the net for the visitors on 11 minutes, but the goal was disallowed by VAR.
Five minutes later, Zakaria nipped in ahead of Marco Bizot to nod home from a corner.
The points were sewn up in the 69th minute when Golovin controlled Youssouf Fofana's pass and slotted in Monaco's second.
Brest almost struck back immediately when Brendan Chardonnet's header from a corner beat Philipp Koehn but clipped the outside of the far post.
Brendan Chardonnet headed on to post on 71 minutes, but this was the last of the big chances for Brest, who had two first-half goals disallowed.
"We had more chances, more shots, more possession, more control, but we lost 2-0 because of some very contentious decisions, so obviously there's a lot of anger," said Brest coach Eric Roy.
Earlier on Sunday, Clermont drew 0-0 away to Strasbourg to maintain their two-point advantage over Lyon.
Reims moved up into fourth with a 1-0 win at Nantes.
Paris Saint-Germain beat Montpellier 3-0 to climb top of Ligue 1 on Friday, but returned to second following Nice's win.