Monaco rally to open three-point lead in Ligue 1; Nice seal Champions League
Monaco restored their three-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain at the summit of Ligue 1 after coming from behind to defeat Dijon 2-1 at Stade Louis II on Saturday.
Cedric Varrault gave the visitors a surprise lead shortly before half-time when he bundled home after keeper Danijel Subasic failed to clear a long-range header.
Monaco clicked into gear in the second-half, first through a long-range free kick by Nabil Dirar who drove an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Radamel Falcao then nudged Dijon closer to relegation when he also beat keeper Baptiste Reynet with a free kick.
Nice confirmed they will finish in at least third place after dispatching Nancy 3-1 at Allianz Riviera -- already guaranteeing their best league performance for 40 years.
A 21st win of the campaign keeps up the pressure on the top two of Monaco and PSG with fourth-placed Lyon now unable to catch them.
Nancy took advantage of some comically poor defending to seize a 27th-minute lead, the home side's inability to deal with a routine corner enabling Maurice Dale to tap home from close range.
But 10 minutes before half-time Nice replied when Younes Belhanda showed persistence and extraordinary skill to thread a pass through the heart of the visiting defence.
There was still plenty for Mickael Le Bihan to do, but he expertly evaded one tackle and directed the ball past Guy Ndy Assembe.
A foul by Issiar Dia on Dalbert Henrique resulted in a penalty that Jean Michael Seri drilled down the middle to seize a 2-1 lead, before the Ivorian midfielder ended Nancy's resistance in the 86th minute.
Valentin Eysseric put him through on goal and he made no mistake as he found the far corner of the net.
Lorient failed to make any ground in their battle against relegation after losing 2-0 at Montpellier, succumbing to goals by Ryad Boudebouz and Isaac Mbenza to keep them in the bottom three.
Metz and Caen were unable to pull away from the drop zone after sharing a lively 2-2 draw at Stade Saint-Symphorien in which all four goals were scored in the second half.
Cheick Diabate appeared to have grabbed all three points for Metz in the 84th minute only for Ronny Rodelin to claim a share of the spoils for the visitors.
Guingamp sent Toulouse spinning to a 2-1 defeat through goals from Jimmy Briand and Alexandre Mendy, with Andy Delort's 67th-minute penalty scant consolation.
Lille remained perilously close to the relegation zone after Ndombe Mubele and Giovanni Sio were on target in a 2-0 win for Rennes.