A Mamadou Niang double earned Olympique Marseille a 3-0 win at strugglers St Etienne on Sunday that left them breathing down Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Lyon's necks.
Senegalese Niang converted a penalty on the hour and put the result beyond doubt with 14 minutes remaining after fellow striker Brandao had doubled the tally on 74 minutes.
Marseille are second in the standings with 58 points, one less than Lyon with eight matches remaining after the champions won 3-1 at Le Mans on Saturday.
The result left St Etienne in 18th place, below the safety line.
Marseille, the best away team in France, turned the game their way in a 16-minute spell in the final half hour at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard.
Niang wrong-footed St Etienne keeper Jeremie Janot from the spot on the hour after being brought down in the area by Kevin Mirallas.
Marseille, with their teeth firmly in their pray, made sure there would be no comeback by adding two in the space of three minutes.
In the 73rd, Brazilian Brandao headed home a Benoit Cheyrou cross and Niang made it three with another header in a packed goalmouth.
"We did not start well but took control of the game after 20 minutes," Marseille coach Eric Gerets told French TV channel Canal Plus.
"In the second half, we could have scored three more. They are lucky they lost only 3-0."
Paris St Germain's title hopes remained alive, four points behind Lyon, with a 2-1 home win against Nice.
At the Parc des Princes, PSG got off to a solid start with Nice keeper David Ospina parrying a Ludovic Giuly shot only for Hoarau to head the ball into the empty net after 20 minutes.
The visitors levelled 14 minutes later when Loic Remy took advantage of a poor back pass from Peguy Luyindula to race into the area and beat Mickael Landreau from close range.
PSG regained control in the second half and were quickly rewarded when Traore scored from a Stephane Sessegnon corner.
Goals by Ryad Boudebouz, Mevlut Erding and Vaclav Sverkos earned Sochaux a 3-0 win over Stade Rennes that lifted them three points above the relegation zone.