Lille kept up their unlikely charge for a first Ligue 1 title in over half a century on Saturday when African strike pair Moussa Sow and Gervinho scored in a 2-0 win at Nice.
Lille, whose last league triumph came in 1954, stay a point clear of Paris Saint-Germain, who defeated Sochaux 2-1.
On a day when all of the top four won, Stade Rennais stayed third thanks to a 4-0 victory at home to rock-bottom Arles-Avignon, while Olympique Lyonnais are just behind on goal difference after a comfortable 3-0 victory against Lorient.
Ivory Coast international Gervinho gave Lille a 44th-minute lead for his eighth league goal of the season, before Senegal star Sow hit the second, five minutes after the interval.
It was league top scorer Sow’s 15th goal of the campaign and it came just four days before he celebrates his 25th birthday.
“We played a strong, attacking game and we had 25 shots on target, which isn’t bad for an away team,” Lille coach Rudy Garcia said.
Lille have 35 points and the advantage of a game in hand over PSG, who still harbor hopes of a quartet of titles this season in Ligue 1, the League Cup, the French Cup and the Europa League.
They came back from a goal down at Parc des Princes to beat Sochaux, with Senegal’s Lamine Sakho on target in the 16th minute and Ludovic Giuly claiming the winner seven minutes later.
“I want to congratulate the players,” PSG coach Antoine Kombouare said.
“They had a great match and at halftime we had Sochaux by the throat. We conceded a goal, but then showed a lot of character to come back,” he said.
Like PSG, Stade Rennais also have 34 points after a 4-0 mauling of Arles-Avignon.
Norwegian midfielder Alexander Tettey opened the scoring for Rennes in the 22nd minute, with Yacine Brahmi adding a brace either side of halftime, before Yann M’Vila hit the fourth in stoppage-time.
Arles, with just one win all season, are 13 points from safety and they also had Bakari Soro sent off in the second half.
Lyon stay fourth, also on 34 points, after Bafetimbi Gomis, known as “The Panther” by his fans, grabbed two goals, with Kim Kallstrom completing the victory.
Laurent Banide’s first match of his second spell in charge at Monaco ended in a 1-1 draw at Auxerre, with Brazilian defender Adriano grabbing a 71st-minute leveler after Julien Quercia had put the home side in front. Banide replaced the sacked Guy Lacombe last week.
In Saturday’s other matches, Stade Brestois 29 beat Stade Malherbe Caen 3-1 and Lens defeated Saint-Etienne 2-1 at the Stade Felix Bollaert.
Montpellier scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to come from behind to beat Valenciennes 2-1 and Toulouse edged Nancy 1-0.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
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