Paris St Germain took full advantage of a surprise defeat for Montpellier to pull level with the Ligue 1 leaders thanks to a narrow 1-0 victory at Sochaux. Kevin Gameiro scored the only goal for PSG after 20 minutes to put them level on 36 points with Montpellier.
Perhaps more importantly the goal could go some way towards quelling rumours the big-spending capital club are planning to dispense with coach Antoine Kombouare and replace him with reported targets Carlo Ancelotti or Rafael Benitez.
Montpellier saw their three-point advantage at the summit wiped out as they went down to a 1-0 reverse at Valenciennes. A goal just after half-time by Foued Kadir saw the struggling hosts take the points with just their fourth win of the season.
Fifth-placed Rennes spurned the chance to move within five points of the summit after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Brest. Nolan Roux opened the scoring for the visitors with a classic poacher's effort after 16 minutes, before Romain Danze bagged the equaliser 15 minutes later.
Umut Bulut scored a last-minute goal to give sixth-placed Toulouse all three points with a 2-1 win over Evian. Moussa Sissoko gave the home side the lead in the 25th minute but Evian looked on course for a point thanks to an equaliser from Daniel Wass early in the second half. But Bulut had other ideas and scored from close range in the dying seconds.
St Etienne moved within two points of the European positions courtesy of a deserved 2-0 win over 10-man Caen. Banel Nicolita and Bakary Sako scored the goals, while Caen were not helped by the harsh dismissal of Livio Nabab three minutes before half-time after an incident involving Jean-Pascal Mignot.
Bottom side Ajaccio were denied only their second win of the season as Nancy scored an injury-time equaliser to draw 2-2 at Stade Marcel Picot. Djamel Bakar put the home side in front after 10 minutes, but Ajaccio drew level thanks to an own goal from Andre Luiz (34) and took the lead on 72 minutes through Johan Cavalli. But fellow relegation strugglers Nancy snatched a point three minutes into added time through Daniel Niculae.