Monaco required a late goal from defender Layvin Kurzawa to salvage a 2-2 draw away to Lorient in Ligue 1.
Coach Claudio Ranieri had warned his side of Lorient's strength at home and the perils of their artificial pitch, and it proved prophetic as the hosts led through Vincent Aboubakar in the first half and Jeremie Aliadiere in the second.
Title-chasing Monaco levelled on each occasion, through Valere Germain and then Kurzawa, but they still fell five points behind leaders Paris St Germain.
St Etienne got their bid for Champions League football back on track with a 3-0 win at home to Valenciennes.
A goal on the stroke of half-time from Renaud Cohade and second-half efforts from Benjamin Corgnet and Yohan Mollo kept the hosts in the hunt for a top-three finish.
Sochaux defied the Ligue 1 form book to claim only their third league victory of the season over high-flying Nantes, emerging as 1-0 victors.
The visitors may have been distracted by their upcoming Coupe de la Ligue semifinal against PSG, but they paid the price as Stopilla Sunzu scored the winner on the stroke of half-time.
With Sochaux still rooted in the bottom three, seven points from safety, this result has more impact at the top of the table as Nantes fall seven points off the top-four race.
Strugglers Evian and Ajaccio both scored late on as they played out a 1-1 draw at the Stade Francois Coty.
Evian took the lead after 85 minutes following a Marco Ruben header before Gadji Tallo stuck back for Christian Bracconi's side in the dying moments for a much-needed point.
Montpellier withstood a second-half rally from Reims to continue their strong start to 2014, which has seen them pull away from trouble in Ligue 1.
After going 3-0 up Montpellier conceded twice in the space of eight minutes to give the hosts hope, but moments after conceding the second they scored a fourth to wrap up a 4-2 win which extends their unbeaten run to five games.
Remy Cabella's brace was bookended by strikes from Joris Marveaux and M'Biaye Niang while Floyd Ayite got the first back for Reims before an Abdelhamid El Kaoutari own goal.
An 87th-minute penalty from Ryad Boudebouz earned Bastia a 3-2 win over Guingamp.
Frederic Hantz's side twice trailed to goals from Rachid Alioui, but recovered on each occasion. Adama Ba got their first leveller and Sebastien Squillaci the second on a night when all five goals game in the second half.