Lyon extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 despite being held to a surprise draw by Valenciennes, as Lens lost to Rennes.
Gerard Houllier's side started the day with a massive 16 point lead over their nearest rivals, but they were frustrated in their pursuit of a 21st league victory as their clash with Valenciennes finished goalless.
Lens, more concerned by those behind them than by trying to catch Lyon, slumped to a 1-0 loss at Rennes, John Utaka scoring the crucial goal on 30 minutes.
Sochaux missed the chance to join Lens on 49 points as they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Nice.
David Bellion broke the deadlock for Nice after 66 minutes but their lead lasted just five minutes before Moumouni Dagano equalised.
St Etienne boosted their European hopes with a 2-1 victory over bottom club Nantes, Bafetimbi Gomes (pictured) grabbing the winner on 35 minutes after Vincent Hognon's opener (28) was levelled by Mamadou Diallo (29).
Bordeaux were held to a goalless draw by Auxerre, who had Benoit Cheyrou sent off six minutes into the second half.
Paris Saint Germain continued their climb away from the relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over Le Mans.
Grafite gave Le Mans a lead on 30 minutes but Peguy Luyindula equalised after 56 minutes and Amara Diane fired home the winner nine minutes from time.
A Rafik Saifi penalty (69) secured a 1-0 win for Lorient at Nancy, while the day's final game, between Monaco and Troyes, ended goalless.
Click below for individual match summaries: