Marseille, who started the game looking to climb from third to second place in the table, wasted an early chance when Michy Batshuayi missed a third-minute penalty.

Andre Ayew finally handed the home team the lead on the stroke of halftime and there was no sign of the drama to follow when Andre-Pierre Gignac converted a pass from Dimitri Payet to add a second goal in the 63rd minute.

Nicolas Seube gave Caen hope when he pulled one back four minutes later before Argentine Emiliano Sala slotted the equaliser through the legs of keeper Steve Mandanda.

Then, just as Marseille seemed set to record a fourth straight draw, Nicolas Benezet gave Mandanda no chance when he smashed the ball into the top corner of the net from long range with three minutes left.

Caen, who were bottom of the table before Christmas, are now up to ninth after stretching their unbeaten run to seven games.

Leaders Olympique Lyonnais (54 points) travel to Lille on Saturday while Paris St Germain (52), who are two points in front of Marseille, visit Monaco on Sunday.

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