After a weekend when the contenders struggled, Paris Saint-Germain FC pulled away from their nearest challengers despite a result which left Carlo Ancelotti disappointed.
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Only one of the top 13 teams in Ligue 1 won this weekend, allowing Paris Saint-Germain FC to move five points clear of Olympique Lyonnais despite their own setback.
PSG were held 2-2 at AS Saint-Étienne despite leading by two early on through Javier Pastore and Zlatan Ibrahimović. However, Lyon suffered a shock loss to SC Bastia on Saturday, the night after Olympique de Marseille had been held 0-0 by AC Ajaccio.
There were also surprise Sunday defeats for OGC Nice and LOSC Lille against strugglers AS Nancy-Lorraine and Évian Thonon Gaillard FC respectively. FC Lorient were the highest-placed winners, moving from tenth to eighth by defeating Stade Brestois 29, but they are not one of PSG's challengers.
"I think it's a good result," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti on Sunday. "It's not easy to win away to St-Etienne. They are high on confidence at the moment, but we are a little disappointed because we were leading 2-0. We played very well in the first half and then things got a little tougher after the break."
Full-back Christophe Jallet said: "We still added a point to our lead in the standings. But, yes, we are disappointed because we could have had all three points tonight."
Lyon's disappointment was more stark after their first 4-1 away loss since 2009, Rémi Garde describing their performance – which ended a four-game unbeaten run – as "a disaster". The coach added: "Our display was not worthy of a Ligue 1 team," but president Jean-Michel Aulas insisted: "Our title hopes are not over. We'll fight until the end."
Two points adrift of Lyon, Marseille coach Élie Baup is also still determined to deny PSG their first championship in 19 years. "This weekend was disappointing," he said. "But it's not over. There are still plenty of points up for grabs. We showed enough mental strength in the past to know that we can thrive in the last nine games."
Fixtures resume after the international break in the last weekend of March. OM have a crucial derby in Nice while PSG host Montpellier Hérault SC and Lyon play FC Sochaux-Montbéliard.