Ahead of Sunday's mouth-watering clash between Lyon and Marseille, second-place Bordeaux stole the show with a 2-0 win at Rennes, while struggling Lens only managed a 1-1 draw at bottom-placed Metz.
Bordeaux ended a controversial week on a high note when a 2-0 French League victory over Rennes kept them on course for Europe next season and reduced champions Lyon's lead to six points.
Bordeaux, coached by former French international and Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc, saw goals from Alou Diarra and Brazilian striker Fernando give them a victory which takes them to 61 points in second place.
Six-time champions Lyon face Marseille on Sunday where victory would restore their nine-point lead with six games left.
Bordeaux entered the match under a cloud after midfielder Johan Micoud had been accused of cheating by winning the controversial penalty which secured a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Nancy last weekend.
Micoud, who was left out of the squad on Saturday because of the media storm, has been summoned to face French league officials next week to explain his part in the incident.
But on Saturday, Bordeaux concentrated on the job in hand by ending Rennes' six-match unbeaten run.
"We have had a great season and we have second place to defend," said Blanc who added he wasn't too concerned by somne lacklustre aspects of his team's approach on Saturday.
"In this league you have to be solid. You can't always be brilliant."
Diarra opened the scoring in the 17th minute for Bordeaux when he fired the ball past goalkeeper Patrice Luzi after Rennes had failed to clear a corner.
Rennes introduced veteran striker Sylvan Wiltord late in the second half as they tried to keep their hopes of UEFA Cup football next season alive but it was Bordeaux who found the killer touch with Fernando heading the winner eight minutes from time.
Bordeaux are nine points ahead of third-place Nancy who face Paris St Germain on Sunday.
At the other end of the table, a last-minute goal from Miralem Pjanic postponed Metz's inevitable relegation for another week at least in a 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Lens.
Metz's fate would have been sealed had they lost but Pjanic popped up just in time to equalise Olivier Monterrubio's 33rd-minute opener for Lens.
Monaco took a step closer to safety with a 2-0 victory at second-from bottom Strasbourg with Nene and Fabio Santos scoring second-half goals while Toulouse stepped out of the relegation zone with a 0-0 draw at home to Lorient.
Date created : 2008-04-05