Lille's fading hopes of challenging Monaco for an automatic Champions League berth suffered another blow on Sunday as they lost 1-0 at Nice to leave third place in jeopardy.
Mathieu Bodmer's goal on the stroke of half-time instead kept the points on the Mediterranean coast as Lille's second-half attempt at a fightback came up short.
Monaco's draw at Lorient on Saturday had offered Lille hope, but instead they ended the weekend eight points adrift in third place, with St Etienne just one point behind as the battle for a Champions League qualifying place intensifies.
Rennes turned the form book on its head to see off Lyon 2-0.
The hosts were winless in six league outings coming into the contest at Stade de la Route de Lorient, and up against a Lyon side on a run of six straight wins in all competitions - and unbeaten since going down 4-0 at Paris St Germain on December 1.
Yet those statistics were undermined as goals either side of the break from Cedric Hountondji and Ola Toivonen saw off a lacklustre Lyon, who were not helped by a straight red card shown to Samuel Umtiti just before half-time.
Toulouse twice came from behind to take a point from the Stade Velodrome with a 2-2 draw against Marseille.
The hosts raced into an early lead thanks to Dimitri Payet's fifth goal of the season, but the visitors wasted no time in hitting back through Wissam Ben Yedder's 11th-minute strike.
Mathieu Valbuena reclaimed OM's advantage just before the break, but once again Jose Anigo's team failed to hold on to a lead as Serge Aurier grabbed a point for the visitors with just under an hour played.