It was an entertaining gameweek in France as elsewhere, Saint-Etienne's 4-0 win over Nice was marred by a shocking injury to Jeremy Clement and Lyon stumbled to a draw in Brest
Montpellier eased to their third consecutive win to remain in the hunt for a late push for the Champions League, as they saw off Rennes 2-0 at Stade de la Mosson.
John Utaka and Mevlut Erding enjoyed the best chances in a competitive first half, before the Turkey international fired frustratingly wide past Geoffrey Jourdren's post.
Julian Feret spurned a brilliant chance from long range, with Anthony Mounier failing with an audacious acrobatic attempt as both sides struggled to find the opener.
It came with a quarter of an hour left though, as Hilton turned in from Marco Estrada's free kick, before Souleymane Camara ended Rennes' hopes with a second, four minutes from time. The visitors have just won once in their last seven.
SAINT-ETIENNE 4-0 OGC NICE
Saint-Etienne destroyed fellow high-flyers Nice 4-0 to move provisionally into third place, but the game was marred by a serious injury to Jeremy Clement.
The hosts went ahead from the spot inside seven minutes. Kevin Gomis conceded a penalty for a challenge on Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, who dusted himself off to score the first.
On 24 minutes Valentin Eysseric was sent off for a shocking challenge on Clement, who needed lengthy treatment on the field for a fractured ankle before being stretchered off.
That incident only sought to spur on Sainte, who responded soon after the hour thanks to a double from Brandao as well as Yohan Mollo both finding the net to ensure a convincing victory.
LORIENT 1-1 VALENCIENNES
Lorient slipped down to ninth place following a frustrating 1-1 draw with Valenciennes as their European hopes took a further dent on Saturday evening.
Christian Gourcuff's men took the lead after four minutes, as Jeremie Aliadiere picked out Kevin Monnet-Paquet to beat Nicolas Penneteau in the opposing goal.
Valenciennes hit the crossbar through Mathieu Dossevi, but finally equalised in the 80th minute when Arnaud Le Lan handballed in the area, allowing Gael Danic to strike from the post.
Lorient remain ninth, on 40 points, five ahead of Valenciennes who occupy 11th position.
SOCHAUX 1-2 AS NANCY
Nancy picked up a fourth win of the season away to fellow strugglers Sochaux on Saturday, as they continue to seek Ligue 1 status in an increasingly tight drop zone.
Loic Poujol gifted the visitors the opener, as he handled inside the area to allow Benjamin Moukandjo to turn in the game's first goal from the spot.
Florent Zitte doubled his side's advantage just after the break, with a fine finish just outside the area to hand Peter Gabriel's side a sizeable half-time lead.
Sochaux failed to seriously trouble the visitors, but they managed a consolation through Sloan Privat in injury time, but les Lionceaux remain precariously above the drop zone.
SC BASTIA 1-0 AC AJACCIO
Bastia rose above Ajaccio into 13th place and claimed island bragging rights following a 1-0 victory in a fiery Corsica derby which ended with five red cards.
The game's only goal, by now a mere footnote, was scored by Toifilou Maoulida, after heading in Gilles Cioni's well-worked cross.
The first red card came for Mathieu Chalme, 10 minutes before full-time for a bad challenge, in what was a second bookable offence for the defender, before the drama began in stoppage time.
Denis Oliech was shown a straight red card for a challenge on goalkeeper Mickael Landreau, before that sparked a furious brawl which saw three further players - Benjamin Andre, Florian Thauvin and Jerome Rothen all sent off for their part in what proved to be an ugly ending.
TOULOUSE 0-0 EVIAN TG
Toulouse's European hopes look realistically over after a second successive 0-0 draw saw them slip to 12th in a turgid fixture against Evian.
The Savoyard outfit enjoyed the better chances throughout the game, most noticeably from Cedric Barbosa and Saber Khlifa.
Franck Tabanou put a shot just wide, before Etienne Capoue's header failed to seriously trouble the Evian goalkeeper as both sides struggled offensively with the game petering out in a draw.
Toulouse have one win in five now, with Evian sitting three points adrift of safety, with no wins in Ligue 1 since December.
STADE BREST 1-1 OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS
Olympique Lyonnais missed the perfect chance to join Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Ligue 1, following a 1-1 draw away to Brest at Stade Francis Le Ble.
Kamel Chafni opened the scoring after eight minutes, with a fine finish past Remy Vercoutre, as Remi Garde's side struggled with the pitch early on.
Bafetimbi Gomis created various opportunities, but couldn't test the goalkeeper, before Lyon equalised through Tripy Makonda's own goal.
Gomis and Steed Malbranque spurned further chances late on, but Lyon will rue their failure to win as they face fellow title challengers Marseille next.
OLYMPIQUE DE MARSEILLE 2-1 ESTAC TROYES
Olympique de Marseille recovered from a sluggish start to steal a late 2-1 win victory over bottom side Troyes, who almost sprung a shock at Stade Velodrome.
Elie Baup's side were still smarting from their double defeat to PSG in Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France this week, but they were the better of the two sides in a goalless first half.
With Saint-Etienne occupying third place at the start of the day, Marseille required a win to remain in touch with PSG at the top, but it went awry when Marcos nudged Troyes ahead with 20 minutes to go, capitalising on some lax defending.
With the Velodrome furious, Baup threw on Modou Sougou, who would prove to be the architect of the comeback, as he first set up Nicolas N'Koulou to direct home on 81 minutes.
Less than 60 seconds later, Marseille were ahead as Sougou bombed down the right flank and picked out Andre-Pierre Gignac to tap home his ninth of the season, and seal a determined victory.
LOSC LILLE METROPOLE 2-1 BORDEAUX
Lille's resurgence continued with a comeback victory over Bordeaux, who remain in 10th on a run of four consecutive defeats on Sunday evening.
The hosts were denied by the offside flag when Ronny Rodelin headed into the net, but Bordeaux recovered to take the lead from the penalty spot.
Franck Beria was booked for a challenge on Benoit Tremoulinas, allowing Jaroslav Plasil to fire the spot-kick down the middle.
The hosts equalised through Rodelin, who capitalised on poor defending to convert from a corner, before Salomon Kalou wrapped up the victory after a goalmouth scramble.