Claude Puel’s long-term position as Lyon coach looked increasingly untenable on Wednesday as they slumped to their worst defeat since 2006 with a 4-0 drubbing by Auxerre to end both their outside hopes of winning the title and extend a three-year trophy drought.
The title now rests between leaders Lille and defending champions Marseille, who trail by four points with three matches remaining after easing to a 3-0 home win over struggling Brest.
While Puel’s present club wilted, so did another of his -former sides, as Monaco’s relegation -worries deepened with a 3-0 thrashing by Sochaux leaving them just one point above third from bottom Nancy.
Auxerre, who are all but safe now as they have a six-point advantage over Nancy, ended any hopes Lyon had of staying in the hunt for the title with two goals in the first half.
Lyon struggled to gain any authority in midfield, which was hardly surprising given they were missing the injured trio of French international duo Yoann Gourcuff and Jeremy Toulalan and veteran Swede Kim Kallstrom.
Caen secured a point in their fight against relegation away at Rennes, whose challenge for the title has faded badly in the past two months after a run of nine matches without a win.
Caen had to come from behind, 16-year-old sensation M’Biaye Niang — who on Saturday against Lens became the second-youngest scorer in French league history aged 16 years and four months, just a month older than the record holder Laurent Roussey in April 1978 — getting the equalizer.
Rennes’ hopes of a European spot also threaten to unravel after Sochaux moved to within one point of them as they beat Monaco 3-0 to make it seven goals scored and none conceded in their past two matches.