PARIS - Lille held on to a one-point advantage in Ligue 1 with a 2-0 victory at Nice on Saturday as the leading six clubs all won after a three-week winter break.
Goals from Gervinho and Moussa Sow secured the points that kept Lille ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, who beat Sochaux 2-1, and Stade Rennes, who thrashed basement club Arles Avignon 4-0.
Olympique Lyon are also a point off the pace after beating FC Lorient 3-0 with a Bafetimbi Gomis double and a Kim Kallstrom goal that extended their unbeaten run to 13 league matches.
"We are in the same state of mind as last year. We need to keep piling the pressure on our rivals", Lyon defender Pape Diakhate told French TV channel Foot Plus.
Lille have 35 points and a game in hand on PSG, Rennes and Lyon, who are all on 34, four points ahead of Toulouse, who beat AS Nancy 1-0, and Montpellier who overcame Valenciennes 2-1.
"We were strong. We did what we needed to do," Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba said after their comfortable 2-0 win.
"It is a logical result because we were in control from beginning to end. Everyone is performing well. It is going to be hard until the end."
PSG fell behind at the Parc des Princes when Sochaux's Modibo Maiga scored against the run of play in the 14th minute.
However, the home side did not trail for long with Mamadou Sakho equalising two minutes later before the 34-year-old Ludovic Giuly scored what proved to be the winner in the 23rd minute and received a standing ovation from the PSG fans.
At the other end, second-bottom RC Lens snatched a 2-1 win over Saint Etienne in a thrilling finale that included two own goals to move within a point of Monaco who drew 1-1 at Auxerre.
'Les Verts' were handed the lead 12 minutes from time when Eric Chelle put the ball in his own net before Sebastien Roudet equalised for Lens with a controversial penalty in the 83rd.
St Etienne's Loic Perrin handed the home side all three points a minute later when he also scored an own goal.
Lens are on 19 points behind 18th-placed Monaco whose new coach Laurent Banide had to be satisfied with a point from his first match in charge after replacing Guy Lacombe on Monday.
Julien Quercia's opener for hosts Auxerre after 26 minutes was cancelled out by Monaco's Adriano Pereira in the 71st.