Ligue 1 round-up
Montpellier back on top as Lille and Lyon also win
Last Updated: March 24, 2012 9:59pm
Olivier Giroud: Striker scored an 89th minute winner to lift Montpellier back to the top of the table
Montpellier returned to the Ligue 1 summit after a last-gasp victory over St Etienne and Lille kept alive their hopes of a successful title defence.
Nancy were the big winners in the battle to avoid relegation as Nice were unable to fully capitalise on playing against 10 men for half the match against Marseille.
Olivier Giroud scored a late winner as Montpellier beat 10-man St Etienne 1-0 at home to climb a point above Paris St Germain at the head of affairs.
St Etienne had Jean-Pascal Mignot sent off on 77 minutes and Montpellier finally took advantage a minute from time through Giroud's goal.
Click below for individual match stats:Ajaccio 1 Lorient 1
Brest 0 Nancy 1
Evian 0 Lille 3
Lyon 2 Sochaux 1
Montpellier 1 St Etienne 0
Nice 1 Marseille 1
Valenciennes 1 Rennes 0
Reigning champions Lille are seven points adrift of Montpellier following a comfortable 3-0 success away to mid-table Evian.
The highly-rated Eden Hazard got the ball rolling by converting a 36th minute penalty before Dimitri Payet and Benoit Pedretti scored in the second half.
Sochaux remain deep in the relegation mire after falling to a 2-1 defeat away by Lyon, who are hanging on in the fight for UEFA Champions League qualification.
Dejan Lovren scored for Lyon after just three minutes and the lead was doubled on 65 minutes through Bafetimbi Gomis.
Former Newcastle United target Modibo Maiga pulled a goal back for Sochaux six minutes later, but his side remain two points from safety.
Nice are still in the bottom three after coming from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at home with South Coast rivals Marseille.
Charles Kabore was sent off in first-half stoppage-time for Marseille, who took a 56th minute lead through Andre Ayew, only for Nice to level on 76 minutes thanks to Luciano Monzon's penalty.
Nancy are now five points clear of the relegation zone after Bakaye Traore's 18th minute goal clinched a 1-0 success at Brest.
Ajaccio and Lorient inched a step closer to safety after playing out a 1-1 draw, with the hosts replying on the hour mark through Ilan after Gregory Bourillon had put the visitors in front on five minutes.
Valenciennes are now six points outside the bottom three after Gael Danic's early goal earned a 1-0 home win over Rennes.