Marseille edged past St Etienne 2-1 at the Stade Velodrome to climb to second in the Ligue 1 standings, though leaders Lille will have the opportunity to extend their three-point lead against Montpellier on Sunday.
Lucho Gonzalez opened the scoring for the champions midway through the second half and Loic Remy doubled their advantage in the 79th minute, with Christophe Landrin grabbing a stoppage-time consolation for the visitors.
Kevin Gameiro's hat-trick was just one point of note as Lorient romped to an eventful and at times bizarre 5-1 victory over Bordeaux.
The hosts' top scorer produced a dazzling display of finishing and Morgan Amalfitano and Arnold Mvuemba also found the net, but that tells only half the story.
he latter's goal came from a penalty retaken due to encroachment, with the original scorer Franco Sosa dismissed for his protests over the decision. And Bordeaux, for whom Fernando scored a consolation goal, lost keeper Cedric Carrasso to a second yellow card in injury time.
Ligue 1 strugglers Auxerre and Arles shared the spoils in a tepid 1-1 draw at the Stade de l'Abbe-Deschamps as Ireneusz Jelen scored a late equaliser for the hosts.
After struggling to reach half-time level, rock-bottom Arles took a shock lead through Deme N'Diaye and looked to be heading for a first away win of the season until Jelen denied them seven minutes from time.
Jonathan Ayite was on target twice as Brest defeated relegation strugglers Monaco 2-0 in a comfortable Ligue 1 win for the hosts.
The Togo striker opened the scoring in the 14th minute and although he had to wait until the closing moments for his second from the penalty spot, Monaco never offered enough in attack to suggest they would get back into the game and had Adriano sent off to compound their misery.
Sochaux stormed seven points clear of the relegation zone and left Lens mired in the bottom three after a dramatic 3-2 victory, in which both teams were reduced to 10 men before half-time.
Goals from Nicolas Maurice-Belay and Modibo Maiga put Sochaux two goals clear inside the opening half-hour, but Lens came back to draw level through Issam Jemaa and Alaeddine Yahia.
Yahia's goal came after Kevin Anin and Toifilou Maoulida were both sent off following a flare-up, but Lens could not stay on level terms for long, and Ryad Boudebouz secured the points for Sochaux with a 65th-minute winner.
A late comeback from Valenciennes denied Caen a victory which would have boosted their fight against relegation, as the visitors secured a 2-2 draw.
After a non-event of a first half, Caen looked to have taken a decisive advantage when Benjamin Nivet and Sambou Yatabare put them 2-0 up. But Gregory Pujol and Steven Langil struck in the final 10 minutes to earn a point for the visitors.