Bordeaux closed the gap on champions Lyon to two points in the French league with a 3-1 win at Le Mans while Paris Saint Germain also moved into the fray with a 2-1 success at Auxerre on Saturday. PSG also trails by two points. With Lyon bidding for an eighth straight title, facing fourth-placed Marseille at the Stade Gerland on Sunday, Bordeaux could not afford to slip up.
After a goalless first half Fernando Cavenaghi broke the deadlock on the hour before Matthieu Chalme and Brazilian Jussie Ferreira wrapped things up after Norwegian Thorstein Helstad had first levelled from the spot.
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc had opined following a UEFA Champions League elimination in mid-week that there is a visible quality gap that has emerged between the French league and its English, Spanish and Italian counterparts, those countries largely monopolising the last 16 of that competition. But with 32 points from 18 games the Girondins are seemingly at least headed for another shot at Europe's premier club competition next season if they maintain this domestic form.
Blanc was pleased his men had bounced back with three points. "We haven't done so badly following the Champions League [exit] and we showed our ambitions in all departments so we deserved the win," he said.
PSG, who spent last season dealing not with European glory but rather the potential nightmare of relegation in which they barely survived, thanked two early strikes from emerging talent Stephane Sessegnon for their win at Auxerre that took them level on points with Blanc's men.
PSG coach Paul Le Guen saluted his side for a key victory "which confirms our progress We're on a roll - though I'd like us to be more consistent. But it feels good to be in the pack chasing Lyon. I think we've turned in a good first half to the season."
The €8 million signing from Le Mans has turned in a series of fine performances at the Parc des Princes to the extent that PSG fans are hoping they have a potential new Augustin "Jay Jay" Okocha on their hands.
Toulouse made it into the top six following a 3-1 win over a St Etienne side that had won its past two games after seven straight losses to move out of the drop zone under new coach Alain Perrin. But Les Verts remain in danger after this latest setback. Former giants Monaco are going nowhere fast after a 3-1 loss at Valenciennes, now just two points adrift of St Etienne. Nancy beat Grenoble in a mid-table meeting and relegation-threatened Caen let slip a two-goal lead in drawing, 2-2, at Sochaux after Remi Gomis had notched a brace for the visitors.