Lyon play AJ Auxerre on Sunday but Toulouse's defeat allowed Lens to move into second place and left Gérard Houllier's side with an unassailable 17-point lead and a French record sixth straight championship success. Toulouse had hoped to consolidate second place but, despite taking an early lead through Achille Emana, were undone by a resilient Rennes performance. Jimmy Briand pulled the home side level with a penalty on 63 minutes before Sylvain Marveaux (75) made it 2-1. Bryan Bergougnoux equalised for the visitors within 60 seconds but two minutes from time Bruno Cheyrou struck to spark celebrations in south-east France.
Toulouse's loss was Lens' gain as Francis Gillot's side regained second place on the strength of a 2-0 win against Le Mans UC 72 thanks to second-half strikes from Eric Carriére (57) and Seydou Keita (89). Marseille also continued their march up the table with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against ES Troyes Aube Champagne. Modeste M'bami hit the winner four minutes from the end after Ziad Jaziri (79) had cancelled out Djibril Cissé's early goal.
Earlier in the day Paris St Germain FC's relegation fears were eased considerably by a 4-0 win against bottom side FC Nantes Atlantique, who now seem destined to bow out of the top flight for the first time since their original promotion in 1963. Pauleta scored in either half, Jérôme Rothen was on target just before the break and Péguy Luyindula rounded off the win midway though the second half. Elsewhere, AS Monaco FC earned a 3-1 success against LOSC Lille Métropole, AS Nancy-Lorraine were 1-0 winners against Valenciennes FC and CS Sedan Ardennes and FC Sochaux-Montbéliard were both held to 1-1 draws at home against OGC Nice and FC Lorient respectively.
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