Edinson Cavani became Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time record goalscorer, after his early finish fired Unai Emery’s side further clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Elsewhere in France, second-place Lyon fell to a 3-1 defeat at Bordeaux, with the highly-coveted Brazilian starlet Malcom converting a spot kick following a controversial dive in the penalty area. Metz’s recent resurgence resulted in an impressive 2-1 home victory over Nice, but is it too little too late for the side still firmly rooted in the drop zone?
For all the action in France’s top flight this weekend, read below:
Dijon 2-1 Rennes
Dijon came out on top in a mid-table clash in the Friday fixture for this game week, after Julio Tavares’ finish just after the hour mark secured all three points for the home side.
The veteran Florent Balmont opened the scoring after 30 minutes, after latching onto a through pass from Valentin Rosier and drilling an effort through Tomas Koubek.
The visitors equalised minutes before the interval. Benjamin Bourigeaud lofted a delivery towards the back post, and Ismaila Sarr stuck out a leg and diverted the ball past Baptiste Reynet.
Dijon found the winner when Oussama Haddadi created a yard of space before crossing, which found Balmont. The midfielder picked out Tavares inside the six-yard box, who bundled the ball home to secure the three points for his side.
Toulouse 1-0 Troyes
Toulouse moved within two points of safety after a nervy home victory over fellow relegation candidates Troyes.
Both sides struggled to create chances in a scrappy affair that was decided by a stroke of luck for former Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo.
A ball whipped into the penalty area was met by a Troyes defender, whose clearance struck the outstretched leg of Sanogo and ended up in the back of the net.
In a season sure to be decided by fine margins, Toulouse have earned an invaluable three points through a fortunate deflection, and they are now within a couple of points of escaping the drop zone. Troyes, meanwhile, have lost four of their last five and sit in 18th.
St Etienne 2-1 Caen
St Etienne triumphed in a clash between two out of form teams, with substitute Jonathan Bamba’s late effort proving the difference between the sides.
The visitors took an early lead through Ronny Rodelin. Frederic Guilbert’s cross took a fortunate bounce in front of Saidy Janko and fell through to the St Etienne forward, who made no mistake in blasting home into the roof of the net.
But ten minutes before half time, the home side were level. Kevin Monnet-Pacquet surged down the right side of the penalty area, before drilling in a low ball that was slotted home by Paul-Georges Ntep.
In the 78th minute, St Etienne wrapped up an important win. Remy Cabella took down a looping ball, and fed Jonathan Bamba 25 yards out. The substitute unleashed a swerving shot that evaded the dive of Remy Vercoutre and nestled into the bottom corner.
Metz 2-1 Nice
Rock-bottom side Metz recorded an impressive home victory over high-flying Nice, and are now seven points from safety.
A second half full of twists was kicked off by Nolan Roux’s well-taken finish. The experienced Frenchman was given time and space to run at the Nice back-line, and a low, driven shot found the back of the net.
But Mario Balotelli, having one of the most prolific seasons of his life, found the equaliser on the stroke of the hour mark. Moussa Niakhate gifted a penalty to the visitors, but the Italian’s spot kick was smothered by Eiji Kawashima. However, as the rebound came back to him, Balotelli made no mistake in blasting home the leveller.
Just four minutes later, Metz scored the winner. A terrific, raking cross field pass was delivered into the penalty area first-time by Florent Mollet, and Roux was on hand to tuck home past Walter Benitez.
Guingamp 0-3 Nantes
Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes continued their impressive campaign with a comprehensive performance and victory over Guingamp.
The visitors were forced to wait until the 61st minute before the deadlock was eventually broken. Alexander Kacaniklic’s cross was cleverly dummied by Emiliano Sala, and Adrien Thomasson tucked home at the front post.
Despite pressure from Guingamp after the opener, Nantes scored twice late on to wrap up the three points.
Moustapha Diallo’s hand ball was penalised by the referee, and Sala stepped up to stroke the resultant spot kick past Karl-Johan Johnsson. And deep into additional time, Santy Ngom cut inside with some silky trickery, before rolling an effort into the far corner to round off a successful away day for Ranieri’s men.
Angers 1-0 Amiens
In a battle between two teams attempting to avoid the drop, Angers came out victorious after an early goal from Pierrick Capelle.
A clever back-flick from Karl Toko Ekambi found Billy Ketkeophomphone, whose swerving shot evaded the grasp of Regis Gurtner. Capelle was the first to latch onto the ball, and he fired home a shot to keep Angers a single point above the drop zone.
Amiens, however, are in a poor run of form at the worst possible time, with only one win picked up in the last five fixtures.
Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Montpellier
Edinson Cavani overtook Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG’s all-time record goalscorer, as the Parisians extended their lead at the summit of Ligue 1.
A cross-field pass found Neymar on the left touchline, who fed through Adrien Rabiot with a deft delivery. The Frenchman drove in a ball across the box, and Cavani was on hand to fire past Benjamin Lecomte and break the record.
Five minutes before half time, Pedro Mendes’ handball was penalised and PSG were awarded a penalty. Amid cheers from the Parc des Princes crowd, Neymar stepped up and fired home to double the home side’s lead.
Angel di Maria then stabbed home Thomas Meunier’s ball across the box for three, before a lightning breakway saw Cavani set up Neymar for a simple tap-in to round off another dominating performance from PSG in their quest to regain the Ligue 1 title.
Lille 2-1 Strasbourg
Lille moved out of the relegation zone, thanks to Edgar Ie’s stoppage time winner.
The home side made the breakthrough in the 76th minute. After some patient build-up play outside the penalty area, Nicolas Pepe swung in a cross which was met by Anwar El Ghazi’s downward header.
But just two minutes later, the visitors were level. Dimitri Foulquier’s header back into the box was latched onto by Idriss Saadi, and he made no mistake in burying past Mike Maignan, despite calls from Lille’s backline for offside.
The controversy surrounding the equaliser was soon forgotten though, when Lille stole all three points late on.
El Ghazi’s corner was met by the intelligent front-post run of Edgar Ie, who cushioned a shot into the far corner.
Bordeaux 3-1 Lyon
Gus Poyet’s managerial reign at Bordeaux got off to the best possible start, with a 3-1 home victory over Lyon.
Bordeaux moved into the top half of the table, after goals from Nicolas de Preville and Malcom put the home side into a shock lead. However, the Brazilian’s goal, from the penalty spot, comes in controversial circumstances.
Malcom went theatrically to ground under a challenge from Jeremy Morel, despite replays showing there had been no contact. But the Brazilian youngster confidently stepped up and fired home the penalty, despite the media spotlight in France now firmly being fixated on him.
Marcelo’s header on the stroke of half time halved the deficit, but Gaetan Laborde’s spot kick, following a foul by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, ensured the victory for Lyon just three minutes later.
Marseille 2-2 Monaco
In a battle between two sides vying for an automatic Champions League qualifying spot, the spoils were shared after an entertaining, free-flowing fixture.
The visitors took an early lead, when Keita’s effort found the back of the net after only four minutes. But Marseille responded quickly, and levelled up the scores almost immediately.
Florian Thauvin’s delivery found the head of Adil Rami, who guided a header past Danjiel Subasic.
The home side had dominated the majority of the first half, and scored their second just after the interval. Dimitri Payet swung in a cross from a dead-ball situation, which was nodded home by Valere Germain into the top right corner.
But back came Monaco in the 51st minute. Full back Djibril Cisse picked out Fabinho inside the penalty area, who fired home past Steve Mandanda and ensured Leonardo Jardim’s side left with a point.