Ligue 1 round-up
Montpellier move clear at top while Lille suffer shock defeat
Last Updated: April 7, 2012 10:37pm
Souleymane Camara fired Montpellier to the top of the table
Montpellier added more pressure on Paris St Germain to move three points clear at the top of Ligue 1 thanks to a comfortable home victory.
In the day's other games, Lille suffered a shock away defeat while Rennes boosted their European hopes allowing Lyon to move within three points of them.
Ajaccio's battle against the drop continued with a vital point as Nancy and Valenciennes also eased their relegation fears with wins.
Montpellier piled the pressure on Paris St Germain in the Ligue 1 title race by moving three points clear - for 24 hours at least - with a 2-1 win over Sochaux.
Rene Girard's side, who have now lost just one of their 16 home league games, will now wait to see whether big-spending PSG are able to pull level with them again with victory over Marseille on Sunday.
Younes Belhanda scored the first for Montpellier to round off a quick counter-attack early on, but Sochaux levelled thanks to Modibo Maiga's stunning overhead kick in the 28th minute.
However, Souleymane Camara settled it 10 minutes into the second half when he fired in the rebound after Pierrick Cros kept out John Utaka's shot.
Lille's late bid to retain their title hit the skids as they suffered a defeat away to out-of-form Brest.
Les Dogues were up against it from the early stages, finding themselves 2-0 down inside 10 minutes as a spectacular Omar Daf strike and a Bruno Grougi penalty but the Brittany side in control.
Dimitri Payet pulled one back for Lille in the 27th minute but Alexandre Alphonse's goal seven minutes into the second period restored Brest's two-goal cushion which they maintained to finish the day three points clear of the bottom three.
Lille played the final 19 minutes with 10 men after Tulio de Melo was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Defeat for Lille leaves them four points behind second-placed PSG.
Click for individual match stats:AC Ajaccio 1 St Etienne 1
Brest 3 Lille 1
Dijon 0 Nancy 2
Valenciennes 2 Toulouse 0
Montpellier 2 Sochaux 1
Evian TG 1 Rennes 3
Lyon 2 Auxerre 1
Lyon moved within three points of Lille as Lisandro Lopez's brace of penalties earned them a 2-1 win over bottom side Auxerre.
The Argentinian was fouled by Auxerre goalkeeper Olivier Sorin in the box and got up to tuck in the first of his spot-kicks in the 28th minute, but Alain Traore levelled three minutes before the break after capitalising on a poor back-pass by Samuel Umtiti.
However, Lyon secured all three points when Willy Boly fouled Lopez and again he held his nerve from the spot in the 72nd minute.
A dramatic late double strike earned Rennes a 3-1 victory at Evian to boost their European bid.
The hosts led at half-time through Jerome Leroy's exquisite lob, but Youssouf Hadji equalised two minutes after the interval.
Aldo Angoula's own goal then put Rennes ahead with two minutes remaining and Mevlut Erding's injury-time goal put the seal on victory.
Ajaccio recovered from a goal down to claim a 1-1 draw with St Etienne and earn a potentially vital point in their battle against relegation.
The Corsican side have now lost just one of their past eight games and are three points above the bottom three after Carl Medjani's 78th-minute equaliser cancelled out Florent Sinama-Pongolle's opener.
Bakaye Traore scored both goals as Nancy improved their chances of avoiding relegation with a 2-0 victory at Dijon.
Both teams went into the game with relegation still a possibility but it was Nancy who claimed three points and stretched their unbeaten run to six games.
That run has included impressive wins over Lyon, Paris St Germain and Montpellier and the latest victory over Dijon is yet more evidence of their determination to survive the drop.
Valenciennes eased their relegation fears with an eventful 2-0 win over Toulouse which featured two penalties and a red card.
Toulouse had to play the entire second half with 10 men after Franck Tabanou was sent off two minutes before the interval.
And the home side took advantage of their numerical advantage through Gael Danic (62) and a penalty from Mamadou Samassa two minutes from time, while Toulouse's misery was complete when Moussa Sissoko blazed a last-minute penalty over the bar.