Lille put pressure on Bordeaux
Lille stretched their winning run to eight matches in all competitions and closed to within six points of league leaders Bordeaux by beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1. Rudi Garcia's side prevailed through goals from Ludovic Obraniak, Florent Balmont and Franck Beria to consolidate second place, but Bordeaux can re-establish their lead when they host title rivals Marseille on Sunday.
On the first weekend programme of fixtures after the winter break, Lyon got their season back on track with a 2-0 win at Nancy, while Montpellier beat Nice 1-0 to hold on to third place in the table, a point shy of Lille.
PSG were fresh from their shock League Cup defeat at second-tier Guingamp in mid-week and they quickly fell behind at Lille when Polish international Obraniak lashed a sixth-minute snapshot into the bottom-right corner. Obraniak created Lille's second in the 52nd minute, seizing on Marcos Ceara's fluffed clearance and picking out Balmont with a measured left-wing cross that the midfielder converted emphatically.
Defender Beria added a third with a deft header from five yards out to give Lille their 26th goal in their last seven Ligue 1 games, with Mevlut Erding replying late on for Paris.
"We knew that we would have to be at our best level and the players put in the kind of performance that I was expecting on a very difficult surface," said Lille coach Rudi Garcia.
Lyon received an early reprieve at Nancy when Issiar Dia was denied the opening goal by the linesman's flag after deftly hurdling Hugo Lloris in the Lyon goal and tapping home. Cris kept the visitors in the game in the second half by diverting Youssouf Hadji's shot on to a post and in the 78th minute the Brazilian centre-back turned goalscorer when he stabbed home following a right-wing corner from Michel Bastos.
A similar Bastos delivery brought the goal that sealed victory for Claude Puel's men three minutes from time with substitute Maxime Gonalons supplying the finishing touch. Lyon climb to fourth in the standings.
Montpellier overcame Nice thanks to a contender for untidiest goal of the season from Souleymane Camara, who toe-poked in from close range after an undignified goalmouth scramble in the 58th minute. Two late strikes by league top scorer Nene - his 11th and 12th of the season - gave Monaco a 1-0 win at Sochaux that moves them fifth, but Auxerre slipped to sixth after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Boulogne.
The basement battle at bottom club Grenoble ended with Saint-Etienne emerging with a 2-1 victory that lifts them three points above the relegation zone. Les Verts took a 2-0 lead through Loic Perrin and a delightful chipped finish by Emmanuel Riviere, but the hosts immediately halved the deficit when Cedric Varrault put through his own goal and should have equalised 15 minutes from time when Danijel Ljuboja headed wide from barely a yard.
In the day's remaining games, Lorient won 3-0 at Le Mans, who are now third-bottom, Rennes were held 1-1 at home to Lens and Toulouse won 3-1 at Valenciennes.