Monaco tighten grip on second, Lyon win
© AFP

Monaco tightened their grip on second place in the French Ligue 1 table with a 3-1 win over Nantes. Having not tasted victory in their previous two league outings, Claudio Ranieri's team were sent on their way thanks to a brace from Colombian James Rodriguez.

Andrea Raggi was on target in between times as Alejandro Bedoya headed a consolation for Nantes. Monaco's win meant they remained 13 points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain, with six games remaining, but more importantly six clear of third-placed Lille in the race for the second UEFA Champions League place.

St Etienne lost ground in that battle as they had to rely on a Max Gradel stoppage-time penalty to claim a 1-1 draw against Nice at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. All three points looked to be heading back to the south coast courtesy of Mathieu Bodmer's solitary strike, but in the last minute Didier Digard was sent off for a handball in the area and Côte d'Ivoire international Gradel made no mistake from 12 yards.

Bafetimbi Gomis scored his 100th Ligue 1 goal to help Lyon to a hard-fought 2-1 win over ten-man Valenciennes, who remain six points adrift of safety. The French international gave the hosts the lead before Waris Majeed offered hope for Ariel Jacobs' side with a leveller shortly after the hour mark. That advantage, though, lasted just a matter of minutes as Jordan Ferri scored his second of the season in some style.