The midweek round of matches in France saw Montpellier claim a hard fought victory away to Stade Brest, as Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne played out a frustrating drawNICE 1-0 STADE RENNAIS
A highly-controversial penalty earned Nice a fourth league win in five games, as they battled to a 1-0 win over nine-man Rennes in a fiery clash at Stade du Ray.
The action exploded into life after a turgid first half in the southern city, when Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik was shown a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Dario Cvitanich.
Things got even worse for the visitors when Yassine Djebbour was shown a straight red card after a controversial push on Eric Bautheac. Up stepped Dario Cvitanich to continue his fine goalscoring form, tucking away the penalty calmly amid the furore.
Nice held on, as they maintained their fine run of form in Ligue 1, though Rennes will be highly aggrieved with the manner of the defeat.
LOSC LILLE METROPOLE 2-0 TOULOUSE
Lille rebounded from their draw at the weekend with a comfortable and assured 2-0 victory over Toulouse at Grand Stade Lille Metropole.
Aurelien Chedjou enjoyed the best of the first half chances, as his audacious attempt was saved by Ali Ahamada, with Nolan Roux also testing the France Under-21 goalkeeper, in a dominant first half from the hosts.
The deadlock was broken in the second period as Dimitri Payet's in-swinging free kick delivery was met powerfully by Marko Basa, who diverted the ball into the net.
The win was sealed in emphatic fashion by Payet, who provided a sumptous curling finish to beat Ahamada, and seal a top half place for Rudi Garcia's men.
AC AJACCIO 2-0 STADE DE REIMS
Ajaccio moved further away from the drop zone with a comfortable 2-0 victory over a struggling Stade de Reims outfit in Corsica.
The hosts took the lead just after the half hour mark as Adrian Mutu scored from a free kick, easily beating goalkeeper Kossi Agassa with a fine delivery.
It would be a set-piece that would provide the source for the second goal, as Mickael Tacalfred deflected Paul Lasne's flick past his own goalkeeper to hand Ajaccio the victory.
The result means Reims are now without a victory since early October, when they were fifth in the table. They currently sit in 17th spot.
EVIAN 2-0 ESTAC TROYES
Evian finally ended their three-month wait for a home victory as they saw off a Troyes side who slumped to the bottom of the Ligue 1 table at Parc des Sports.
Pascal Dupraz's men raced out of the blocks early, as Aldo Angoula and Yannick Sagbo went close in front of goal.
Kevin Berigaud was the architect of the opening goal, as his cut in from the right and picked out Cedric Barbosa, who fired past the goalkeeper for the opener.
The Portuguese midfielder bagged his second midway through the second half, with a simple finish from a loose ball after Saber Khlifa was thwarted by Yohann Thuram-Ulien.
FC LORIENT 2-0 SOCHAUX
Lorient's resurgence continued with a fine 2-0 victory over Sochaux at Stade du Moustoir, as they claimed provisional fifth place on Wednesday.
Alain Traore notched his fifth goal of the season with a thumping strike from outside the box - with the Burkina Faso international registering a contender for goal of the month.
Sochaux struggled to assert themselves, though Sloan Privat did well to fashion an opening as Lorient stepped up their efforts.
The win was sealed in the second period as Lamine Kone capitalised on poor defending to secure another morale-boosting victory for the hosts. Sochaux slip back into the relegation zone.
OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS 1-1 AS NANCY
Olympique Lyonnais' hopes of pulling further clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table were dashed as they were held to a shock 1-1 draw by Nancy.
Jean Fernandez's men moved off the bottom of the table thanks to their performance at the Stade de Gerland, which banished the memory of several near-misses in the last couple of weeks.
The visitors were the better of the two sides, and deservedly took the lead in fortuitious circumstances when Jordan Loties deflected the ball into the Lyon net after Remy Vercoutre attempted to deal with Salif Sane's header.
Michel Bastos restored parity with a fine finish with seven minutes left, as Remi Garde's men looke ahead to the crunch clash against Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, with the hosts just three points ahead of Carlo Ancelotti's side.
STADE BREST 1-2 MONTPELLIER
Brest's formidable home record took another tumble as they lost for the second time in succession at Stade Francis Le Ble on Wednesday evening.
Previously, Landry Chauvin's men had only been defeated once at home this season against Marseille two weeks ago, but they suffered at the hands of the champions, who are moving up the table with each passing week.
It was the hosts who broke the deadlock when Paul Baysse's delivery into the box was helped on by Daniel Congre, with Eden Ben Basat firing Brest in front after 14 minutes.
Johan Martial's own goal put Montpellier back on track, though Younes Belhanda, Souleymane Camara and Bruno Grougi all failed to put away good chances.
Eventually, Rene Girard's men pulled themselves in front through John Utaka's fine finish, though it perhaps should have been more as Camara hit the post with a brilliant header late on.
SC BASTIA 1-2 OLYMPIQUE DE MARSEILLE
Olympique de Marseille began the process of erasing a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Lorient at the weekend with a gritty 2-1 win over Bastia.
The hosts had been slapped with a one-match stadium ban after recent crowd trouble, though the club circumvented the rules by erecting a giant TV screen outside the stadium, with fans clearly being heard just outside the ground.
The early minutes were rather competitive, as smoke from flares wafting in from the supporters outside Furiani made its presence felt, though Marseille did strike first with through Mathieu Valbuena's wonderful volley.
Andre Ayew converted a penalty in the second half to hand Elie Baup's men a further advantage, though a grandstand finish ensued when Anthony Modeste scored late on.
Marseille hung on though and lie three points behind Lyon in third place, while sitting level with PSG.
BORDEAUX 0-0 SAINT-ETIENNE
Both side's hopes of keeping in touch with Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 took a major dent as Saint-Etienne held Bordeaux to a ninth league draw in 17 games on Thursday evening.
Neither side could strike a decisive blow heading into the last two matches before the winter break in a poor first half that witnessed just two shots on goal.
Romain Hamouma tested Cedric Carrasso, who elected to nullify the visitors' threat by punching the ball away, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired wide in the pick of the action.
The second half was equally even as the defences held firm, leaving both sides level on 27 points and a full eight behind the leaders after a night of frustration at the Stade Cheban-Delmas.