by SCOTT TAYLOR
Mario Balotelli was less than convincing but his unbeaten Nice side moved four points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table with a 2-0 victory at home to ten-men Lyon, who had Nabil Fekir sent off.
Paul Baysee put his side ahead in the first five minutes before Jean Seri sealed the result with 14 minutes left to play.
Alexandre Lacazette made his comeback for the visitors in the closing stages, and Balotelli missed a penalty late on as he failed to add to his five league goals this season.
Edinson Cavani is one striker that wasn’t shy in front of goal as the PSG striker scored his ninth goal in eight games as his side edged out bottom side Nancy 2-1 at the Stade Marcel Picot.
Cavani and Lucas Moura put PSG comfortably ahead before former Liverpool and West Ham midfielder Alou Diarra pulled a goal back but Unai Emery’s side held on for the win.
The victory means that the Champions have not lost against a promoted team in Ligue 1 since March 2013, a run that consists of 22 matches, and rise to second in the table.
That was because AS Monaco lost ground on Nice after becoming the second big team to lose at Toulouse, after Leonardo Jardim’s side fell to a 3-1 defeat despite taking the lead.
Martin Braithwaite scored two late goals to take his tally to six for the season, as the surprise package of the campaign came from behind to rise to fourth, whilst Monaco drop to third.
Valere Germain opened the scoring in the third minute but Braithwaite turned provider for Oscar Trejo to equaliser midway through the second half before the Toulouse striker run riot.
Marseille broke the record for the most matches played in Ligue 1 as their 2,369th top flight fixture ended in a 1-0 victory at home to Metz in the final game under the current ownership.
Bafitembi Gomes scored his sixth goal of the season to give Marseille back-to-back wins for the first time in almost a year, lifting them to just one point behind their opponents Metz.
Guingamp are still unbeaten at home this season and are up to fifth in Ligue 1 after Sloan Privat scored the winner in a 1-0 win over struggling Lille, who stay in the relegation zone.
The Gent loanee’s 32nd minute strike helped Guingamp continue their goalscoring run at home in 2016, where they have scored in all but one of their 14 games at the Stade du Roudourou.
The first Brittany derby of the season ended with Nantes coming away with the bragging rights after a 2-1 win at relegation threatened Lorient.
Yacine Bammou and Guillaume Gillet put the visitors 2-0 ahead before Pierre-Yves Hamel grabbed a late consolation but the win means 12th-placed Nantes are now unbeaten in their last 7 derbies.
Elsewhere, Angers ended an 11-game losing streak to win 2-1 at Bastia. The visitors had a horrid record when travelling to Corsica, but a brace from Famara Diedhiou either side of a Thievy Bifouma strike to secure the three points for Stephane Moulin’s side, who sit in tenth.
The most thrilling game of the week came in Montpellier, as they hosts edged out a five goal thriller against Caen. Fresh from his hat-trick last week, Rodrigue Ninga scored another two goals for the hosts, who had Steve Mounie sent off six minutes after scoring the hosts’ second.
Alaeddine Yahia and Ivan Santini were on target for Caen, who have now won just one of their last six matches in Ligue 1.
Finally, Bordeaux stretched their unbeaten run against Rennes to seven matches after a 1-1 draw, as a Nicolas Pallois equaliser ended Rennes 100% home record after Diego Contento’s first ever own goal put the hosts ahead.
Saint-Etienne had to rely on a 90th minute penalty from Nolan Roux to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to ten-men Dijon, who had Cedric Varrault sent off which resulted in the spot-kick.
Pierre Less-Melou had earlier given Dijon the lead, and it was almost a year to the day since ninth-placed Saint Etienne last failed to score a first half goal at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Ligue 1 Results:
Rennes 1-1 Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne 1-1 Dijon
Nancy 1-2 Paris Saint Germain
Bastia 1-2 Angers
Guingamp 1-0 Lille
Lorient 1-2 Nantes
Montpellier 3-2 Caen
Toulouse 3-1 Monaco
Nice 2-0 Lyon
Marseille 1-0 Metz