Lille and Monaco kept the pressure on high-flying Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday as both won their French Ligue 1 matches to keep pace with the champions.
Lille are now just one point behind PSG, who host Lyon at the Parc des Princes on Sunday, with Monaco a further point adrift. Lille did well to hold third-from-bottom Valenciennes at bay as the northeners played with ten men following the sending off of Franck Beria after the break.
Lille have now gone ten league matches without defeat while Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has not conceded a goal in 945 minutes of action.
He is closing in on the Ligue 1 record of 1,176 minutes held by Gaetan Huard during the 1992/93 season with Bordeaux.
Monaco march on
Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez gave the perfect answer to recent criticism from Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri with a brilliant 19th-minute free-kick before Anthony Martial guaranteed a 2-0 victory over Rennes - the principality's ninth win in 15 matches just before half-time.
Monaco were also playing without injured top scorer Radamel Falcao as the Colombian continues to struggle with a thigh problem.
Earlier on Saturday, Saint-Etienne took temporary possession of fifth spot with a 4-0 rout of Reims at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium.
Mustapha Bayal Sall scored the first of four goals in 26 second half minutes when he broke the deadlock to set the home side on their way.
Captain and defender Loic Perrin then scored twice in quick succession with Saint-Etienne's second goal on 76 minutes and their third 120 seconds later. Frenchman Fabien Lemoine then capped a fine afternoon's work with the final strike with two minutes remaining.
Elsewhere Guingamp won 1-0 at home against Brittany rivals Nantes as Lorient followed on last week's 4-0 thrashing of Evian with a 3-0 win over Nice. A Wissam Ben Yedder hat-trick inspired Toulouse to a 5-1 rout over tailenders Sochaux.