Paris Saint-Germain FC are two points off the Ligue 1 summit following a Zlatan Ibrahimović-inspired 4-0 win at Valenciennes FC.
Though leaders Olympique Lyonnais have a game in hand – at home to bottom club AS Nancy-Lorraine on Wednesday – PSG now look well placed ahead of the visit of Rémi Garde's side to the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Victory at Valenciennes rarely appeared in doubt from the moment Ibrahimović turned in Ezequiel Lavezzi's shot just before the half-hour. The capital team's talismanic striker made it two early in the second half, reacting quickest to convert the rebound after home keeper Nicolas Penneteau had parried Javier Pastore's shot.
The Swedish international's hat-trick – and his 17th league strike this term – was recorded five minutes later when Jérémy Ménez drew Penneteau out of his goal and squared for Ibrahimović to stroke into the unguarded net. Lavezzi completed the rout eight minutes from time with a cool finish having found himself with only Penneteau to beat.
Valenciennes would have drawn level with PSG with a win but instead stay fifth, level on points with Stade Rennais FC following their 1-0 defeat at OGC Nice. LOSC Lille defeated Toulouse FC 2-0 in the late kick-off.
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|2||Paris Saint-Germain FC||17||32|
|3||Olympique de Marseille||16||29|
|6||FC Girondins de Bordeaux||16||26|
|8||Stade Rennais FC||17||26|
|12||Montpellier Hérault SC||16||20|
|14||Stade Brestois 29||16||18|
|15||Stade de Reims||16||17|
|17||AC Ajaccio *||16||16|
|18||Évian Thonon Gaillard FC||16||16|
|19||ES Troyes AC||16||9|