Olympique de Marseille moved to within a point of Ligue 1 leaders AS Monaco FC on Sunday with a 3-1 victory against SC Bastia at the Vélodrome.
Didier Drogba scored his sixth goal in three games to get the scoring under way before Steve Marlet ensured the home side had a two-goal lead by half-time. Although Bastia pulled a goal back through Frédéric Née, Rudolf Skacel pounced with 25 minutes remaining to put the game beyond the visitors' reach.
Monaco had put the pressure on Marseille by hanging on to beat EA Guingamp 2-1 on Saturday - despite having defender Gaël Givet sent off. The leaders went ahead through two searing first-half Ludovic Giuly strikes, both set up by Fernando Morientes.
Givet was ordered off seconds before half-time after a high tackle on Nicolas Laspelles - and Guingamp threatened to snatch control of the game when Nicolas Gousse pulled a goal back - but Monaco retained their cool to open up a temporary four-point gap at the top.
Bamogo on target
Giuly's double took him to six for the season, the same number as Montpellier Hérault SC striker Habib Bamogo, who scored twice himself as his side drew 2-2 away against Toulouse FC, a result which leaves both sides in the bottom four.
Two players went one better by grabbing a hat-trick - Pegguy Luyindula and Djibril Cissé doing the honours with trebles to help their respective clubs, Olympique Lyonnais and AJ Auxerre, to victory.
Cissé was responsible for all three goals in Auxerre's 3-0 win against Lille OSC, while Luyindula's hat-trick came in Lyon's 4-2 win against AC Ajaccio. After goals from Luyindula and Bernard Diomede, the game had been balanced at 1-1 until midway through the second half, when Florent Malouda edged Lyon ahead. But Luyindula scored twice in the last 20 minutes to seal the victory - although there was still time for Dalibor Mitrovic to pull one back for the home side at the death.
Pauleta seals it
In the weekend's other games, FC Nantes Atlantique beat Stade Rennais FC 1-0, and Paris St Germain ended FC Sochaux Montbéliard's run of 29 home games without defeat with a 1-0 win thanks to a goal by Portuguese striker Pauleta.
RC Lens, meanwhile, ended their 2-0 home defeat against FC Metz, for whom Toifilou Maoulida scored twice, with nine men after Senegalese international Papa Bouba Diop and Cameroon defender Rigobert Song were sent off. The game between OGC Nice and RC Strasbourg, as well as FC Girondins de Bordeaux's trip to face Le Mans UC 72, ended goalless.
|Last updated: 04/07/2011 06:00 CET|
Giroud 23 (p)
|Venue: St Etienne|
El Arabi 71