Lyon's hopes of regaining the Ligue 1 title suffered a blow tonight as they were held to a goalless draw by struggling Boulogne. Six wins from seven games had pulled Claude Puel's side back into contention, but they are now a point behind leaders Bordeaux having played three games more.
Boulogne, who had Yoann Lachor sent off in stoppage time, remain in penultimate position in the table, nine points off safety. Lille are two points further back after they also wasted the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders as they could only manage a 1-1 draw at struggling St Etienne.
"I have to hand it to Boulogne as they pressed throughout with a lot of enthusiasm. We were more in it after the break and made ourselves a few chances but the Boulogne keeper made the difference," said Puel. "On our second half showing the result is a bit of a shame but overall the draw is a fair result. We were too passive in the first half to expect anything better."
Emmanuel Riviere gave the hosts the lead in the 17th minute but Stephane Dumont levelled for Lille just four minutes later. St Etienne are now seven points off the drop zone.
Auxerre are level on points with both Lille and Marseille, who host Lorient tomorrow, after they maintained their impressive home record with a 1-0 victory over Valenciennes. Auxerre have not lost at the Stade l'Abbe-Deschamps since the beginning of December and Ireneusz Jelen's 37th-minute strike ensured that streak continued tonight.
At the other end of the table, Stephane Sessegnon's equaliser, deep in stoppage time, rescued a vital point for Paris St Germain at relegation rivals Lens. Lens looked to have won the game thanks to Sebastien Roudet's deflected opener, but Sessegnon struck in the fourth minute of added time to snatch a share of the spoils.
The result does neither side any favours with both dropping two places in the Ligue 1 standings, Lens to 15th and PSG above them on goal difference only. Sochaux climb above the pair after Ryad Boudebouz's late free-kick secured them a 1-0 victory over Toulouse.
Elsewhere, substitute Issiar Dia's stoppage-time winner handed Nancy a valuable 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Nice. Nice had twice come from behind as Renato Civelli equalised moments after Djamel Bakar's early opener and Chaouki Ben Saada levelled following Jonathan Brison's stunner.
The results sees Nancy move up two places into 12th while Nice remain just one place above the relegation zone, six points ahead of 18th-placed Le Mans, who have two games in hand.
Meanwhile, Rennes dealt a blow to Monaco's European hopes as US international Carlos Bocanegra's goal saw them triumph 1-0. Bocanegra headed home shortly before the half-hour mark to end a run of three straight defeats for the hosts.