Leaders Montpellier left it late to snatch a 1-1 draw with Dijon, while Lille missed the chance to close the gap after being pegged back to 2-2 by Auxerre.
Jonathan Tinhan struck a late equaliser to save Montpellier from a shock defeat at mid-table Dijon.
Dijon looked set to inflict a first defeat of 2012 on in-form Montpellier after taking a 67th-minute lead through on-loan Chelsea man Gael Kakuta, but substitute Tinhan saved his side a point with an 88th-minute equaliser.
The result leaves Montpellier two points clear at the top of the standings, but second-placed Paris St Germain could now replace them with a victory over Ajaccio on Sunday.
Lille threw away a two-goal lead at home to struggling Auxerre to leave their Ligue 1 title defence in serious doubt.
Eden Hazard's double either side of half-time seemingly had Lille in control despite the 41st-minute dismissal of Mauro Cetto.
Auxerre were then in even deeper trouble when substitute Anthony Le Tallec was dismissed on 67 minutes but goals from Ben Sahar and Cedric Hengbart inside the final 10 minutes snatched an unlikely point.
While it was not enough to edge Auxerre out of the drop zone, Lille remain seven points adrift of Montpellier.
St Etienne's hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League also took a blow after they were stunned 2-0 by Evian at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Les Verts went in to the game on the back of a four-match unbeaten run but, despite dominating large parts of the clash, it was Evian who took away the spoils thanks to goals from Cedric Mongongu and Yannick Sagbo.
Evening to forget
Lyon failed to take advantage of slips by St Etienne and Lille as they fell to an eighth away defeat of the Ligue 1 season, 2-0 against Nancy.
Second-half goals from Sebastien Puygrenier and Djamel Bakar gave Jean Fernandez's strugglers a morale-boosting win on another difficult night for Les Gones.
Toulouse were the highest-ranked team in the league to pick up three points as they beat Marseille 1-0 to rise from seventh to fifth.
Marseille are also in the running for European qualification but they endured an evening to forget at Stade Velodrome as Aymen Abdennour scored the only goal.
Sochaux's long wait for a win continued as they had to fight back from a goal down to grab a 1-1 draw against Valenciennes at the Stade Auguste Bonal that leaves them bottom of the table, five points from safety.
Gregory Pujol put Valenciennes ahead in the 68th minute, only for an own goal from Nicolas Isimat-Mirin to spare them another defeat.
Bordeaux suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Nice in the day's late game to leave them firmly in mid-table.
Luciano Mozon broke the deadlock with a penalty after 18 minutes and Abraham Guie Guie doubled their advantage before half-time.
Marc Planus pulled a goal back for Bordeaux midway through the second period but they could not find an equaliser.