LEADING PAIR SLIP UP
Paris Saint Germain failed to take full advantage of a shock defeat for Ligue 1 leaders Montpellier on Sunday.
Montpellier's title hopes took a dent as they were beaten 2-1 at Lorient in the afternoon.
Henri Bedimo's own goal in the 69th minute put the hosts in front and Joel Campbell's goal eight minutes later doubled their advantage.
Olivier Giroud pulled one back for Montpellier a minute later, but they still slipped to defeat.
However, PSG failed to make the most of their chance to move level at the top, conceding a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at rock-bottom Auxerre.
PSG looked set to take full advantage of Montpellier's shock defeat earlier in the day when Nene put them ahead in the first half, but Auxerre hit back through Anthony Le Tallec with four minutes to go to salvage a point.
The draw does little to help Auxerre's bid to escape the drop as they are still five points adrift of safety, but for PSG it is another damaging blow to their title hopes.
The results gave fresh hope to Lille, who breathed fresh life back into their fading title hopes with a 4-1 mauling of Ajaccio.
Lille's chances of retaining their title looked to have suffered a potentially decisive setback when last weekend's defeat to Brest left them 10 points behind Montpellier, but they reduced the gap to seven after cruising past lowly Ajaccio.
A 16th-minute own goal from Yoann Poulard set Lille on their way, Joe Cole then added a second before the break and late strikes from Gianni Bruno and Eden Hazard, from the penalty spot, sealed the win.
Ajaccio netted an injury-time goal from Frederic Sammaritano, but it was nothing more than a consolation for a side who saw their five-match unbeaten run came to an end.
Benoit Tremoulinas' last-minute penalty salvaged a point for Bordeaux as they came from behind to draw 2-2 against Nancy at the Stade Marcel Picot.
Yoan Gouffran put the Girondins in front in the 17th minute before Bakaye Traore levelled for Nancy just after the break.
Sebastien Puygrenier then gave the home side the lead as Nancy looked to have secured their fifth win in a row before Tremoulinas fired home from the spot to snatch a late point for his side.
Nancy are still not mathematically safe, but an impressive five wins and a draw in their last six games has massively improved their chances of avoiding relegation. Bordeaux lie three points ahead of them in eighth place, five points behind St Etienne.
St Etienne's hopes of securing European football next season were boosted by a 2-1 home win over relegation-threatened Brest.
Although a Champions League spot may be beyond Christophe Galtier's men, a fourth-placed finish and Europa League football is not and, after this win, looks a distinct possibility.
Max Gradel's penalty and Bakary Sako's winner either side of Issam Jemaa's equaliser proved enough, with Les Verts now hot on the heels of fourth-placed Lyon.
Modibo Maiga threw Sochaux a Ligue 1 lifeline after a precious 1-0 win over Dijon.
In an increasingly-congested bottom half of the table, Les Lionceaux remain in the relegation zone but only on goal difference.
They occupy the last of those drop spots but, with just four points covering the sides between 12th and 19th, this result could prove to be a priceless one.
It was fitting that it was Maiga who should win it for Eric Hely's men too, as it was he who carried a lot of the fight to Dijon, who are one of the sides now comfortably in Sochaux's sights.
Evian continued their impressive away form to pick up three more vital points in their battle to avoid relegation in a 3-0 win at Valenciennes.
All three of Evian's goals came in a 15-minute purple patch before half-time with Saber Khelifa, Kevin Berigaud and Yannick Sagbo, with a penalty, the men on the scoresheet.
There was no way back for Valenciennes after that as Evian moved five points clear of their opponents and nine above the relegation zone.
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