Marseille claimed what could end up being a priceless come from behind 2-1 win at Lorient on Sunday to extend their lead at the top of the French league.
Kevin Gameiro put Lorient into an eighth minute lead but Argentina defender Renato Civelli pulled Marseille level on the hour mark with Brazilian striker Brandao grabbing the 80th minute winner.
The win pushed Eric Geret’s side up to 64 points, four clear of perennial champions Lyon who face a tricky assignment later on Sunday at third-placed Bordeaux.
Irrespective of Lyon’s fate Marseille have assured themselves of at least one more week at the summit as they close in on a first championship since 1994.
This was the south coast club’s fifth straight league win and not even the late red carding of captain Lorik Cana will have tarnished their day.
Paris Saint Germain, like Marseille knocked out of the UEFA Cup in midweek, saw off bottom club Le Havre 3-0.
After a poor first half PSG went into the break in front after a 42nd minute goal from Ludovic Giuly but the capital club raised their game in the second half with Jerome Rothen (55) and Guillaume Hoarau (90) sewing up the win.
That was Hoarau’s 17th goal of the season and it came against his former teammates.
On Saturday Nantes gave their hopes of staving off relegation a major shot in the arm with a 2-0 home win over mid-table Nice.
Nantes, who had gone into the weekend third from bottom, moved two points clear of the drop zone after first Cameroon international Christian Bekamenga and then French-born Malian Mamadou Bagayoko earned the club a vital win.
This was a welcome three points as it was their first victory since their defeat of Lyon back in early September and Nantes manager Elie Baup was heartened by his players’ performance.
“That gives us strong encouragment for the rest of the season,” said Nantes manager Elie Baup.
“I’m urging my players not to give up until the last game of the campaign.”
Saint Etienne also did their prospects of staying in the top tier no harm at all with 2-1 win over fifth-placed Lille.
The former European heavyweights jumped up a place into third from bottom, on 32 points.
Toulouse came a cropper 1-0 at Grenoble after Laurent Courtois converted a 40th minute penalty to keep the Pyreneen side stuck in fourth spot.
He added: “This isn’t ideal preparation for our French Cup semi-final.”
Rennes, who also have a French Cup semi-final coming up on Tuesday, stay in seventh after a 3-1 loss at Monaco, the hosts’ goals all coming inside the last half-an-hour from Croat Jerko Leko and a double from Juan Pablo Pino.
Elsewhere, Nancy had Geoffrey Adjet to thank for grabbing the winner in their 2-1 success at Caen; Le Mans came away from their trip to Valenciennes 2-0 victors, while Auxerre edged Sochaux 1-0.
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