Lille took an important step towards securing a UEFA Champions League place with a crucial 2-1 win over closest rivals Toulouse at the Stade Metropole.
Star midfielder Eden Hazard again showed why he is one of the most sought-after players in Europe as he won a 12th-minute penalty, which he converted, before teeing-up Dimitri Payet for his side's second goal on the half-hour.
Toulouse halved the deficit through Serge Aurier after 59 minutes but their hopes ended with the 82nd-minute dismissal of Pantxi Sirieix for an ugly tackle on Nolan Roux.
Lille's win moved them six points clear of fourth-placed Toulouse while also just about reviving their hopes of defending their Ligue 1 title.
After Paris St Germain lost on Saturday and with leaders Montpellier not in action this weekend, manager Rudi Garcia's side are now four points adrift of the top.
Lisandro Lopez struck a late equaliser to earn Lyon a 1-1 draw from their trip to fellow European hopefuls Rennes.
Rennes had looked set to move to within two points of Lyon after taking a fifth-minute lead through Mevlut Erding but they were pegged back by Lopez's leveller 14 minutes from time.
The result sees Lyon climb into fourth place above Toulouse on goal difference, with Rennes remaining in seventh spot.
Pierre-Alain Frau's penalty miss cost Caen a victory which would have provided a huge boost to their Ligue 1 survival hopes as they drew 0-0 against Ajaccio.
The forward had spoken in the build-up to the game of the importance of three points, which would have lifted them above their opponents and out of the relegation zone.
But the crucial moment came five minutes before half-time when his spot-kick hit the crossbar, the second time the woodwork had denied the hosts - though Ajaccio also went close when Eduardo's effort was cleared off the line.