Montpellier pulled five points clear of second-placed Paris Saint--Germain in the Ligue 1 title race with a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Valenciennes on Saturday.
With PSG not in action until they tackle Sochaux at Parc des Princes in yesterday’s game, Rene Girard’s side took full advantage by strengthening their grip on top spot ahead of their final five games of the season.
Montpellier took the lead after just five minutes at Stade de la Mosson, with Souleymane Camara kneeing home Younes Belhanda’s drilled cross from the right following a short corner.
Defending champions Lille closed to within two points of PSG and increased their cushion in third place to eight points by winning 2-0 at Dijon.
Lille were reduced to 10 men in the 35th minute when Idrissa Gueye was shown a straight red card for a foul on Brice Jovial, but four minutes later Eden Hazard squared for Rio Mavuba to put the visitors into the lead.
Rennes surged above Lyon and Toulouse into fourth place by winning 1-0 at Brest through a first-half Julien Feret penalty, while Toulouse lost 2-1 at in-form Evian.
Saint-Etienne drew level on points with Lyon and Toulouse by cruising to a 4-1 success at relegation-threatened Caen.
Bottom club Auxerre remain five points adrift of safety after losing 1-0 at Nice and seeing both Dennis Oliech and Willy Boly sent off.
In Saturday’s late game, a Jussie double gave Bordeaux a 2-1 win at home to Marseille that condemned Didier Deschamps’ beleaguered side to their 12th Ligue 1 game without victory.