David Bellion scored his first Ligue 1 goal for more than three years to help Girondins de Bordeaux climb to fourth with a 2-0 home victory over Valenciennes on Saturday.
The striker, who had not found the net in a league game since he grabbed a double against Lorient in December 2009, tapped the ball in from a 33rd-minute corner to put his team in front.
Ludovic Obraniak doubled the lead in the 74th minute after a superb run down the left by Benoit Tremoulinas.
The 2009 champions have 38 points, four behind Olympique de Marseille in third spot, who were due to take on bottom club AS Nancy-Lorraine yesterday.
“Sometimes you have to be patient and wait your turn. With the current situation at the club, I play and just try to enjoy it,” said former Manchester United forward Bellion after only his third start of the season.
“Our run of form is good with three consecutive wins in all competitions,” he told Bordeaux’s Web site. “We were solid, not brilliant, and we have to keep our feet on the ground.”
Bellion got his chance on Saturday following Yoan Gouffran’s move to Newcastle United in the week and because Cheick Diabate is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Mali.
Fifth-placed OGC Nice, behind Bordeaux on goal-difference, also won 2-0 at Stade Brestois 29 thanks to Nemanja Pejcinovic and an own-goal by Brahim Ferradj.
AS Saint-Etienne are one point adrift in sixth spot after a 2-1 triumph at fourth from bottom Sochaux-Montbeliard, midfielder Fabien Lemoine notching the winner with his first goal of the season in the 77th minute.
Stade Rennais slipped to seventh, also on 37 points, after Axel Ngando came off the bench to make his league debut and bag the equalizer in stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw at Lorient.
Rennes started aggressively and had the first clear-cut chance in the seventh minute as Lecomte parried a powerful effort from Romain Alessandrini.
Yann Jouffre opened the scoring for Lorient in the 30th minute after the Rennes defense failed to clear.
The visitors levelled through Mevlut Erding 11 minutes after the break when he went round the ’keeper to score.
Both sides pushed hard for a second goal and Lorient thought they had secured victory with 10 minutes left when Jeremie Aliadiere fired home from 20m.
Divock Origi headed the equalizer in the 74th minute to rescue a 1-1 draw for LOSC Lille Metropole at home to second from bottom ES Troyes AC, while SC Bastia were held to a goalless draw by Evian Thonon Gaillard.