Lyon ended Montpellier's 100 per cent record in Ligue 1 tonight with a 2-1 victory, moving them within a point of their opponents.
Half-time substitute Miralem Pjanic put the hosts ahead three minutes after his introduction and Jeremy Pied, another replacement, made it 2-0 after 78 minutes, shortly after Montpellier had been reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Younes Belhanda. Henri Bedimo halved the deficit late on, but Montpellier could not find an equaliser.
Bedimo was involved in the first significant action of the evening, his run and cross from the left picking out Olivier Giroud whose overhead kick forced Hugo Lloris into a wonderful full-stretch save.
Lyon, who this week made sure of their place in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League with an aggregate win over Rubin Kazan, hit back and Kim Kallstrom's corner was headed narrowly over the bar by Bakary Kone.
The end to end action continued with Lloris saving well from Giroud and Laurent Pionnier producing an equally good stop to parry a Bafetimbi Gomis volley. Pionnier was then called into action just before the half-hour as he kept out an effort from Anthony Reveillere after fine work from Lisandro Lopez.
Montpellier came close twice before half-time, the lively Giroud firing just wide and John Utaka curling an effort narrowly over the bar.
Pjanic found the breakthrough for Les Gones shortly after he came on for Jimmy Briand. Gomis played in Michel Bastos on the right and the Brazilian crossed for Pjanic to crash home a stunning volley at the far post. Lloris denied Utaka a swift equaliser with another fantastic stop before Giroud then fired a shot against the upright.
Montpellier hit the woodwork again after 68 minutes when Belhanda's shot hit the bar although Lloris deserved credit for a getting a hand on it. It proved Belhanda's final positive contribution, however, as he was then sent off for lashing out at Pjanic.
And the numerical superiority told almost immediately as Pjanic cross towards Pied, who made no mistake with a crisp finish. Defeat was harsh on Montpellier and were merely able to find a consolation late on in injury-time when Giroud played in Bedimo, who finally found a way past Lloris.