Monaco made to fight
A review of the weekend's action in the French Ligue 1.
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Monaco moved back to second in Ligue 1 with a hard-fought 1-0 win over 10-man Ajaccio at the Stade Louis II.
Emmanuel Riviere's eighth goal of the season with 15 minutes left to play proved enough for Claudio Ranieri's men after the visitors had Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi sent-off with an hour played.
Victory for Monaco, their fourth league win in a row, moved them back above Lille following their defeat at Bordeaux earlier in the day and closed the gap on leaders Paris St Germain back to two points.
Lille succumbed to a 28th-minute own goal from Simon Kjaer after being unable to break down a Bordeaux side which played with 10 men from the 58th minute following the sending off of Maxime Poundje.
Defeat, the visitors' first since September, left them four points behind PSG.
A second-half equaliser from Toulouse midfielder Abel Aguilar denied Montpellier a much-needed victory in their first outing since the resignation of coach Jean Fernandez as the teams drew 1-1.
Fernandez stepped down on Thursday after seeing his side take just two points from their previous seven games, and he is set to be replaced by former Montpellier boss Rolland Courbis on Monday.
Courbis will take over a side still stuck in the bottom four of Ligue 1 following Sunday's draw, which saw Montpellier go ahead through Souleymane Camara's 19th-minute strike only for Toulouse to claim a point when Aguilar - whose mistake led to Camara's goal - levelled 18 minutes from time.
Toulouse had spurned a great chance to draw level before that but Eden Ben Basat saw his 51st-minute penalty saved by Geoffrey Jourdren.
Montpellier also had a player sent off in that incident, Daniel Congre handed his marching orders, but Toulouse only had a man advantage for 17 minutes before they lost defender Jonathan Zebina to a controversial red card as both teams finished with 10 aside.
Lyon battled back from a goal down to run out 3-1 winners at Bastia.
Florian Raspentino gave the hosts the lead in the 34th minute but Lyon hit back after the break thanks to goals by Alexandre Lacazette, Yassine Benzia and Bafetimbi Gomis.
The champions saw their 26-game unbeaten league run ended on Wednesday night, but there was never any danger of them being beaten on Saturday as they crushed a Sochaux side that has won just one league game all season.
Thiago Silva had PSG 1-0 up at the break and they dominated the second half as goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani, plus a late brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, sealed a comfortable win.
Younousse Sankhare denied Valenciennes the victory that would have put them within touching distance of safety when his spectacular second-half strike earned Guingamp a 1-1 draw.
After just two wins from their opening 16 games, Valenciennes are toiling through the campaign but had a rare win in sight when Tongo Doumbia headed in during the early stages.
They held off Guingamp until the 70th minute when Sankhare produced a sumptuous overhead kick to make it 1-1, a scoreline that stood to the final whistle.
Lorient continued their march up the table with Yann Jouffre scoring both goals in a routine 2-0 win over 10-man Rennes.
The visitors paid the price for the early dismissal of Sylvain Armand, with Jouffre scoring from the resulting penalty before adding a second late on to earn Christian Gourcuff's side their fourth successive victory.
The result lifts Lorient above their opponents and into the top half of the table.
Gaetan Charbonnier scored three minutes into injury time to earn Reims a 1-0 win as Nice's terrible run of form continued.
Charbonnier's calm finish at the death kept the hosts firmly in the hunt for a European place, but condemned Nice to a seventh straight Ligue 1 defeat.
The clash between St Etienne and Evian was postponed because of a partially frozen pitch.
On Friday night, Nantes swapped places with Marseille after a goal by Alejandro Bedoya guided them to a 1-0 win over OM.
Bedoya slotted a right-footed shot home after 16 minutes to give Nantes victory at the Stade Velodrome to also inflict a second successive defeat on their hosts.
It saw Nantes leapfrog their hosts into fourth in the table, one place and two points above Marseille.