Montpellier move to summit
In-form Montpellier netted three second-half goals to claim a deserved 3-0 victory over lowly Ajaccio that provisionally lifts them into the top of the Ligue 1 standings.
Montpellier had won their previous six competitive matches without conceding and, although they failed to make the breakthrough in the first half, the were too good for Ajaccio and took the points thanks to goals from Younes Belhanda, Remy Cabella and top scorer Olivier Giroud.
The victory lifts Montpellier above Paris St Germain on goal difference, but the capital club can reclaim top spot when they play Nice on Sunday.
Caen completed a double over Lyon to help ease their relegation worries with a 2-1 win at the Stade Gerland.
Goals from Romain Hamouma and Livio Nabab in either half secured the upset win despite Lisandro Lopez's late penalty for Lyon.
Caen won the reverse fixture 1-0 in September but had won just twice in the league since then to leave them deep in the relegation picture. This success, however, pulled them three points clear of the bottom three.
Lyon's European ambitions were dented, though, as they lost at home for just the second time in the league this season.
Auxerre missed the chance to move out of the relegation zone as they conceded an injury-time equaliser to draw 1-1 at home to 10-man Lorient.
Innocent Emeghara levelled for the visitors at the death to cancel out Willy Boly's 18th-minute opener and keep the hosts in the bottom three.
Lorient had been a man down since midway through the first half when goalkeeper Fabien Audard was sent off for a handling the ball outside his area as Ben Sahar raced through on goal. But they showed plenty of spirit to come back and make their opponents pay for a succession of missed chances.
Mamadou Samassa scrambled home a deserved winner for Valenciennes against Nancy in stoppage time at the end of a match in which their dominance looked set to go unrewarded until they finally claimed a 1-0 win.
The home side hit the crossbar in the first half through Brazilian defender Gil and were thwarted in the second by Massadio Haidara's goal-line clearance and the excellence of goalkeeper Guy N'Dy Assembe.
But Samassa popped up at the last to stab the ball home and earn his side three points to ease them further away from the relegation zone.
Mevlut Erding's goal subjected his former club to defeat as Rennes secured a 1-0 home victory over Sochaux.
The Turkish striker, a product of Sochaux's youth academy, netted the only goal of the game in the 15th minute to keep Rennes in touch with the European hopefuls and leave Ligue 1's bottom club winless in nine matches.
Erding, recently recruited from Paris St Germain, made the all-important breakthrough with a header from Jonathan Pitroipa's cross, after the Burkina Faso international had picked up possession on the wing from Julien Feret.
Brest snatched a late 1-1 draw with 10 men in a dramatic finish to their clash with struggling Dijon.
The visitors had the better of a goalless first half but had to wait until the 75th minute to take the lead through on-loan Gael Kakuta. Brest then had Issam Jemaa sent off with a minute remaining but still managed to salvage a point when Santiago Gentiletti headed home in stoppage time.