Benoit Pedretti's stoppage-time winner saw off spirited Le Mans and sent Auxerre top of the table. Pedretti struck to make it 2-1 just two minutes after Thorstein Helstad thought he had snatched a point for Le Mans to keep the hosts firmly in the hunt for their second league title and first since 1996.
Victory moved Auxerre, for whom Ireneusz Jelen opened the scoring in the first half, two points clear of Bordeaux, although the defending champions have two games in hand. All the other top-six teams play tomorrow, with second-placed Bordeaux hosting fourth-spotted Lille, third-placed Montpellier taking on Valenciennes and Lyon (fifth) visiting Marseille (sixth).
Elsewhere tonight, Asamoah Gyan struck twice as Rennes defeated Toulouse 4-1 to climb to seventh. Petter Hansson set the hosts on their way with the opener just after the half-hour, with substitute Jires Kembo-Ekoko also on the scoresheet in the last minute after Daniel Braaten had pulled one back for the visitors.
Nice's revival under new coach Eric Roy continued this evening as the southern side moved nine points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 home victory over Paris St. Germain. Loic Remy scored the only goal of the game 11 minutes from time at the Stade Municipal du Ray in a match which was played behind closed doors following crowd trouble in Nice's game at Monaco in January.
Another for Boulogne
Boulogne also boosted their survival prospects with a second straight victory – this time a 2-0 win over Lorient. Damien Marcq's 13th-minute opener and an own goal from Laurent Koscielny after 52 minutes earned Boulogne the points.
The other three Ligue 1 matches tonight failed to produce a goal between them. Lens and Sochaux remained in 15th and 14th places respectively following their 0-0 encounter at the Stade Felix-Bollaert. Seventeenth-spotted St. Etienne dominated in their game against Nancy, but were ultimately grateful to goalkeeper Jeremie Janot for their point.
Rock-bottom Grenoble and out-of-sorts Monaco also shared the spoils in another stalemate at the Stade des Alpes. Both sides enjoyed periods of domination without making the breakthrough, while even the dismissal of Grenoble goalkeeper Jody Viviani in the 80th minute did not yield a goal.