PSG edge closer to title
A review of the weekend's action in the French Ligue 1.
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Paris St Germain took a huge step towards securing their first ever back-to-back Ligue 1 title triumph with a confident 2-0 win over Marseille in Le Classique.
Following a goalless but entertaining first half, Maxwell needed just five minutes of the second to send the champions into a lead with his third of the season before substitute Edinson Cavani wrapped up all three points with little over 10 minutes to play.
Victory for Laurent Blanc's men, their third in a row in the league, takes them eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after Monaco suffered defeat at St Etienne on Saturday.
Lyon were held to their third goalless draw this season at the Stade Gerland by Montpellier in a game the hosts largely dominated from start to finish.
Clement Grenier tested visiting goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren from several free-kicks in what proved to be a hotly-contested duel but Montpellier held out to stretch their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to nine games.
Salomon Kalou scored his first hat-trick in Ligue 1 as Lille came from behind to beat Ajaccio 3-2 in a bad-tempered affair at the Stade Francois-Coty.
Despite falling behind to Junior Tallo's strike, the quickest goal this season in the French top-flight, Kalou's effort from open play was sandwiched by two penalties to secure a first win on the road since October.
Remi Garde's team held on despite seeing Adama Soumaoro sent off late on.
Tallo had offered the Corsicans hope just before the break when he scored his second of the game to send the teams in level but a contentious second-half spot-kick proved enough to eventually separate the two sides as Ajaccio boss Christian Baroni was sent to the stands for protests.
Monaco lost ground in the title race on Saturday as they went down 2-0 at St Etienne.
Fabien Lemoine and Romain Hamouma were the men on target as Christophe Galtier's stunned their visitors.
Reims continued their push for a top-four finish and European football by beating relegation-threatened Valenciennes 3-1.
Goals from Nicolas de Preville, Prince Oniangue and Gaetan Charbonnier earned the home side their third win in four games as they closed the gap on fourth-placed Lille to four points.
Mathieu Dossevi's reply came too late for Valenciennes, who are third from bottom in the standings and five points from safety.
Fellow strugglers Sochaux served notice that they will not go down easily with a stirring 2-0 win at home to Europe-chasing Bordeaux.
Jordan Ayew and Cedric Bakambu grabbed the goals in the final 20 minutes to ensure Herve Renard's side did not lose ground in the fight for survival, with the club now level on points with Valenciennes.
Guingamp further eased their relegation fears with a 2-0 victory over Rennes that sees them leapfrog their Brittany rivals into 13th place.
Thibault Giresse's superb 39th-minute volley set Guingamp on their way and Mustapha Yatabare sealed the triumph with a stoppage-time penalty at the end of the game.
Toulouse claimed their second away win from their past three matches as they saw off 10-man Nice 2-0 at the Allianz Riviera.
Second-half goals from Eden Ben Bassat and Wissam Ben Yedder made the difference for Alain Casanova's side, while Nice, who are now winless in their past four league matches, lost Lloyd Palun to a straight red card 10 minutes after the break.
Lorient's poor run continued as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Bastia.
Ecuele Manga's 35th-minute strike gave Lorient hope of ending their barren streak - they have won just once in 10 games - only for Gianni Bruno to equalise shortly after half-time.
Evian claimed their first league win of 2014 on Friday evening, beating Nantes 2-0 to edge clear of the relegation zone.
Second-half goals from Cedric Barbosa and Daniel Wass ended a run of 10 matches without victory, with the result piling further pressure on the three teams below Evian in the standings.