Paris St Germain passed up the chance to move within a point of Ligue 1 leaders Lille on Saturday as they went down 1-0 at Rennes.
Yacine Brahimi netted the game's only goal after 19 minutes to secure victory for Rennes, who jumped to third and joined second-placed PSG on 37 points as a result of their win. Lille can open up a seven-point cushion if they win at Auxerre on Sunday.
Below-par champions Marseille climbed to fourth courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over basement boys Arles, Andre-Pierre Gignac's second-half goal proving decisive at the Stade Velodrome.
Emmanuel Riviere's first-half double set St Etienne on their way to a 2-1 win at Montpellier, moving them up to fifth and six points behind Lille. Substitute Jonas Martin pulled a goal back for Montpellier four minutes from the end but it was too late in arriving from the home side.
A 29th-minute goal by Nemanja Pejcinovic was sufficient to see off Sochaux 1-0 and guide Nice to their fifth home win of the season as they look to move away from danger in Ligue 1. The visitors' task was made even harder when they were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time by the dismissal of Kevin Anin.
Kevin Gameiro's hot scoring streak continued as Lorient climbed to ninth with a 2-0 win over Caen and left their opponents in trouble towards the bottom. Morgan Amalfitano headed Lorient into a 22nd-minute lead, and Gameiro made sure of victory in the 86th minute.
Lens remained in the relegation zone after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Valenciennes. Issam Jemaa put Lens in front after 37 minutes, but the lead lasted just two minutes before Mathieu Dossevi equalised for VA, who stayed 13th.
A superb curling free-kick by Bruno Grougi two minutes from time saw Brest collect their first league win since November, 2-1 over Nancy.
Jonathan Ayite gave the hosts the lead shortly before half-time, but the visitors were level through Brou Apanga's own goal with a quarter of an hour remaining before Grougi's timely intervention.