Bordeaux came back from three goals down to beat Monaco 4-3 and go second behind Lyon, after fellow title pursuers Paris Saint Germain and Marseille let valuable points slip on Sunday. PSG were held 2-2 by Valenciennes, while down at the Velodrome stadium, Nancy meted out a 3-0 drubbing to Marseille.
In Sunday's late game Bordeaux, who could have gone clear second, were trailing 3-0 and looking down and out after Juan Pablo Pino's 12th minute opener and a double by Alexandre Licata either side of the break. Marouane Chamakh pulled one back in the 52nd minute with Alou Diarra reducing the deficit further a quarter of an hour later, but still the visitors were facing defeat.
With two minutes of regulation time remaining, Chamakh got his double with Argentinian Fernando Cavanaghi the hero of the hour, bagging the decider in the closing seconds.
That lifted Laurent Blanc's team up to second on 35 points, three behind Lyon, who 24 hours earlier had come away from their trip to Caen as 1-0 winners. Rennes lie third, on 34 points with PSG and Marseille in fourth and fifth.
Marseille were undone by a Youssouf Hadji first half double with Issiar Dia adding further misery in the 56th minute for mid-table Nancy's sixth win of the campaign. Marseille manager Eric Gerets said: "At 2-0 if you score quickly after the break, you still have a small chance, but after the third goal the match became easier for Nancy. They deserved their win."
Up in the French capital PSG were unable to follow up their heroics on Thursday when they thumped Dutch side FC Twente 4-0 to book their place in the UEFA Cup last 32. Paul Le Guen's in-form team were seeking their sixth success in seven outings, but could not overcome a determined Valenciennes side who came back twice to take a share of the spoils.
PSG striker Guillaume Hoarau opened the scoring in the 28th minute with Rudy Mater levelling three minutes after the break. Jerome Rothen had the home side back in front with just over quarter of an hour an hour left on the clock but Côte d'Ivoire international Siaka Tiene had the last word five minutes from time.
Le Guen reflected: "We're disappointed this evening, but our situation is positive. We're on track in the league, in the top half of the table, in the League Cup and UEFA Cup. But this match is a little warning. When we're not able to maintain our level in a game we're punished."
While PSG felt hard done by when a seemingly legitimate goal from Stephan Sessegnon in the 77th minute was disallowed by referee Bertrand Layec, Le Guen failed to criticise the decision. Despite the two points squandered, PSG would have given anything to be sitting fourth at the midway point of the campaign.
Lyon reached Christmas in their customary position as leaders of the pack after Karim Benzema's strike two minutes from the break earned the points at Caen on Saturday. Lyon had not won at the Michel d'Ornano stadium since 1995 and coach Claude Puel said it was good to get a victory under the belt.
"It was mission accomplished even if we were in a little bit of difficulty at the end because we should have sealed the match up before then. These three points do us a lot of good just before the Christmas break and it was good to get a victory after several poor matches."
Rennes moved into second with a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Lorient. Down at the other end of the table Le Havre remained on the bottom with a 3-1 loss to Lille for their 13th defeat of the campaign.
Struggling Soachaux did their fight to stave off relegation no harm at all with a 1-1 draw at Nantes which saw them move up one place into third from bottom on goal difference from Valenciennes.
Elsewhere, St Etienne celebrated making it into the UEFA Cup round of 32 this week with a resounding 2-0 win over Auxerre. The result kept St Etienne in fourth from bottom, but importantly lifted them five points clear of the relegation zone.