An eighth straight league title still looks beyond them but Lyon at least returned to form by swamping relegation-threatened Nantes 3-0 at the Gerland stadium.
The win moved Lyon onto 64 points with three games remaining - though they trail joint leaders Marseille and Bordeaux by four points. And the gap will grow again on Wednesday assuming Marseille put points on the board at Nice and Valenciennes respectively as the pair chase the automatic UEFA Champions League slots. The team that finishes third will have to go through the qualifiers.
Jean II Makoun bagged two of Lyon's goals, following an early header with a neat strike on 35 minutes as Claude Puel's team rallied following a three-match goalless spell and four-game run without a win. Anthony Mounier's header 11 minutes from time completed the one-way traffic as Lyon lifted themselves four points clear of Paris Saint Germain ahead of the latter's meeting Wednesday with Le Mans. Toulouse, six points adrift of Lyon, host Lille.
"We got the early goal and that gave us confidence." said Puel, whose men still have to face Marseille. "We turned in the performance we had to and we kept a clean sheet."
Lyon's 18th win was Nantes' 18th defeat and the 'Canaries', eight-time league champions and the last title winners before Lyon began their spell of domestic hegemony, now seem destined for the drop as they stand second bottom. They have just 33 points from their 35 games - the same as fellow former giants Saint Etienne and Sochaux, who both have a match in hand, while Caen are a point better off.
Bottom side Le Havre are already as good as down with a paltry 24 points.