FC Girondins de Bordeaux are top of Ligue 1 on goal difference despite a goalless draw at AS Monaco FC that extends Laurent Blanc's side's run without a top-flight win to three games.
Bordeaux's title defence came under increased pressure with a 2-1 defeat by AJ Auxerre on Wednesday and their lead remains precarious after failing to find a way past Monaco, who are eighth.
That result meant that either Auxerre or Montpellier Hérault SC could have gone top with victory in their meeting. It was Bordeaux who benefitted, however, Montpellier staying second after Alberto Costa's goal midway through the second half cancelled out Dennis Oliech's opener for Auxerre, who had Jérémy Berthod sent off late on. Jean Fernandez's side are one point off the co-leaders.
Fourth-placed Olympique Lyonnais, fresh from their UEFA Champions League first knockout round defeat of Real Madrid CF, also failed to make Bordeaux pay for their slip. Claude Puel's side needed Lisandro's equaliser 11 minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw with AS Saint-Etienne that sees Les Gones sit two points off the pacesetters.
St-Etienne, for their part, are aiming to pull clear of the drop zone after being dragged further into the relegation mire by second-bottom US Boulogne's 3-1 triumph at AS Nancy-Lorraine. Le Mans UC 72, though, made no such advances, losing 1-0 at home to OGC Nice to remain third last.
One place above Nice, in 15th, are RC Lens after they went down to a 1-0 loss at FC Lorient. In the day's other game, Paris Saint-Germain FC leapfrogged FC Sochaux-Montbéliard with a 4-1 victory which was largely due to a hat-trick for Mevlüt Erdinç that takes the Turkish international's top-flight tally for the season to 12.