Reims claim Lille scalp
A review of the weekend's action in the French Ligue 1.
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Lille missed the chance to go second in Ligue 1 as they slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to Reims.
Monaco's 1-1 draw with Montpellier on Friday night had left the door open but Lille failed to push through it as Reims took control with two goals in four minutes from Odair Fortes - a somewhat fortuitous one as an attempted clearance caught him in the face and flew in - and Grzegorz Krychowiak late in the second half.
An Anthony Weber own goal with two minutes left set up a nervy finish but Reims hung on to maintain their impressive away form, which has seen them lose only once in their last nine on the road.
The in-form Andre-Pierre Gignac struck the winner as Marseille fought back from a goal down to defeat Evian 2-1 and pick up their first Ligue 1 victory in five matches.
L'OM had earned just two points since beating Montpellier at the end of November and they looked in danger of dropping further adrift of the leading sides after seeing Evian take a 15th-minute lead through Modou Sougou.
However, the visitors were back on level terms within seven minutes thanks to Benoit Cheyrou and were ahead by half-time through Gignac's strike.
That was Gignac's sixth goal in his last five games in all competitions and ended up being the match-winner as neither side could add to the scoreline in the second half.
The victory saw Marseille move to within two points of fourth-placed St Etienne in the final European spot, while Evian remain in the bottom five after slumping to a third successive loss.
Ismael Bangoura's first goal of the season brought an end to a run of back-to-back defeats for Nantes with a 1-0 win against in-form Lorient at the Stade La Beuajoire.
The Guinean forward, yet to make a start for the hosts, came off the bench to score a dramatic late winner which moved Les Canaris back up to sixth.
A first defeat in eight for the visitors meant that Christian Gourcuff's men missed out on the opportunity to go seventh for what would have been their highest league position of the season so far.
On Saturday, Paris St Germain extended their lead at the top to five points with a hard-fought 2-1 win at bottom club Ajaccio.
The home side have won just one league game all season but shocked the reigning champions as Eduardo fired them into a sixth-minute lead.
They continued to frustrate PSG but Laurent Blanc's men levelled five minutes before the break through Ezequiel Lavezzi and Blaise Matuidi bagged the winner with 16 minutes to play.
Second-half goals from Clement Grenier and Yoann Gourcuff helped Lyon to a 2-0 win over struggling Sochaux .
It was as regulation a win as the home side could have hoped for, with relegation-haunted Sochaux never looking like the side which beat Rennes last time out and more like the one with just two league wins to its name this season.
Goal-shy Guingamp played out a goalless stalemate with a below-par St Etienne.
Fourth-placed St Etienne came into the contest on the back of three straight league wins but were unable to break down a Guingamp side who are always tough opponents on home soil.
Although a point against one of the league's form sides will be welcomed, the hosts will be worried at drawing yet another blank in front of goal - their fourth in the last five Ligue 1 outings.
Toulouse claimed bragging rights in the south east with a 1-0 win away to derby rivals Bordeaux after each team had a man sent off in the first half.
Uros Spajic of Toulouse and Maxime Poundje of Bordeaux both got their marching orders, the latter for conceding a penalty which Wissam Ben Yedder saw saved by Cedric Carrasso.
Toulouse's Denmark forward Martin Braithwaite scored the goal eight minutes after half-time and though both Andre Poko and debutant Guillaume Hoarau went close, the hosts could not respond.
Valenciennes survived a late fightback to claim a 3-2 win over Bastia and secure back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Mathieu Dossevi scored twice in the first half to put the strugglers in control and when Abdul Waris grabbed a third it looked as if it was all over.
But Romaric and Ilan netted for the visitors to set up a tense finish as VA held on.
On Friday night, Monaco had failed to move level with PSG as an equaliser by Mbaye Niang gave Montpellier a 1-1 draw.
Layvin Kurzawa gave Monaco the lead seven minutes into the second half only for Niang to level things up when he pounced on the rebound after his penalty had been saved by Danijel Subasic after 68 minutes.