AS Monaco beat lowly AC Ajaccio 1-0 on Sunday with a late goal from Emmanuel Riviere to climb to second place in Ligue 1, two points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Missing Colombia striker Radamel Falcao through injury, Monaco needed to work hard to convert their domination into a goal.
Valere Germain missed an easy tap-in from a low cross by Layvin Kurzawa in the 75th minute, but Andrea Raggi at the far post prevented the ball from running out of bounds and cut it back for Riviere, who scored from close range.
Also on Sunday, 10-man Girondins de Bordeaux earned a third straight win by defeating LOSC Lille Metropole 1-0 to get back in the race for a European spot, while mid-table Olympique Lyonnais beat SC Bastia 3-1 and Toulouse drew 1-1 with Montpellier-Herault.
“It was important to take advantage of Lille’s slip,” Monaco defender Eric Abidal said. “It was not a pretty match, but like the coach sometimes says, no matter how you play, the most important thing is to win.”
Monaco forward Anthony Martial, one of the most promising prospects in the league at 18, took a pass from James Rodriguez in the 16th and dribbled past three defenders to fire a low strike that Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa palmed away.
Ochoa frustrated Monaco by tipping a powerful drive from Jeremy Toulalan over the bar in the 20th and saving a header from Ricardo Carvalho in the 56th from a corner.
Ajaccio were reduced to 10 men in the 62nd when Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi picked up a second yellow card for tripping Rodriguez.
Monaco used their numerical superiority to take the lead before striking the post twice with free-kicks from Rodriguez in the 80th and Joao Moutinho in the 84th.
In Bordeaux, Landry N’Guemo fired a long-range strike in the 27th minute that deflected off Lille defender Simon Kjaer to beat goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who had not conceded a goal in his previous 11 league games.
Bordeaux went down to 10 men in the 58th when defender Maxime Poundje was sent off for clattering into Lille fullback Franck Beria.
A resilient Bordeaux managed to protect their slim lead thanks to N’Guemo clearing a bicycle-kick from Lille leftback Pape Souare off the line in the 84th.
“We’ve missed that solidarity to make the difference in some games,” Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso said.
Lille lost ground in the title race and dropped to third place, four points behind PSG, while Bordeaux went level on points with fifth-placed Olympique de Marseille.
“We were not at the races this afternoon,” Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba said.
In Bastia, Florian Raspentino converted a cross from Julian Palmieri to put the hosts ahead in the 34th, but Alexandre Lacazette equalized in the 54th before Yassine Benzia gave Lyon the lead by heading home a cross from Clement Grenier in the 56th.
Bafetimbi Gomis sealed the win in the 85th with an assist from fullback Henri Bedimo.
Bastia dropped to 12th after its first home loss this season.
In Toulouse, Abel Aguilar scored the equalizer in the 71st after Montpellier striker Souleymane Camara opened the scoring in the 19th.
Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren stopped a penalty from Toulouse forward Eden Ben Basat following a foul from Daniel Congre, who was red-carded in the 49th.
Toulouse also lost a man in the 67th when Jonathan Zebina picked up a second yellow for dissent.