Ligue One Roundup, Feb. 21
Lille made up ground in the French title race on Sunday after
substitute Pierre Aubameyang struck a late winner in a 2-1 victory
Elsewhere, Michel Bastos scored a hat trick to help Lyon rout Sochaux 4-0, while Mamadou Niang performed the same feat for Marseille in a 3-1 victory over Nancy at the Stade Velodrome.
Bordeaux tops the standings with 51 points, three clear of second-place Montpellier, which lost 1-0 at Saint-Etienne on Saturday. Lille is third with 47 points, one more than fourth-place Lyon.
"The victory came from the bench, which means that the team's mindset is good," Lille coach Rudi Garcia told Canal Plus television. "We deserved the victory because we had the best chances. We'll try to go as high as possible (in the standings)."
In Rennes, Pierre-Alain Frau gave Lille a 10th minute lead, setting off on a run from midfield before firing home a low diagonal shot from the edge of the box, taking his tally to 10 goals this season.
Jerome Leroy equalized for Rennes in the 26th. Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan jumped to divert a long ball from Kader Mangane toward Leroy, who took a touch before beating goalkeeper Mickael Landreau with a side-footed finish.
Lille nearly recaptured the lead from a corner in the 42nd minute, when Adil Rami's header crashed against the bar.
But Aubameyang made no mistake when he pounced on a rebound to score from close range in the 89th minute after goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez had blocked a shot from Stephane Dumont.
Rennes, down in ninth place with 37 points, is virtually out of contention for a European spot.
In Sochaux, Bastos opened the scoring after four minutes with a low free kick.
The Brazilian winger doubled the lead in the 24th with a powerful strike under the bar off a cross from Bafetimbi Gomis.
Bastos added his third a minute later from a tight angle, volleying home a high cross from Brazilian playmaker Honorato Ederson.
Argentine forward Lisandro Lopez intercepted a backpass to net his 10th goal this season and put the result beyond doubt in the 78th minute.
"We'd like to play such matches every time," Lyon defender Jean-Alain Boumsong said. "There has been a lot of criticism over our style of play but tonight our football was brilliant."
Before the game, Sochaux's American forward Charlie Davies performed a ceremonial kickoff - an event held prior to the official kickoff at the Stade Bonal.
Davies is recovering from severe injuries after a car crash last October.
The American striker hopes to get in contention for a callup to the United States squad for the World Cup in South Africa and is trying to be fit to play for his club by the end of the season.
In Marseille, Senegal striker Niang outjumped the Nancy defense to head in a cross from Charles Kabore in the ninth minute to open the scoring.
Brazilian defender Andre Luiz leveled for Nancy four minutes later off a pass from Issiar Dia.
But Niang volleyed home a cross from Taye Taiwo to make it 2-1 in the 34th before sealing the win in the 67th on a counterattack, notching his 14th goal this season to become the top goalscorer in the league.
"The most important thing is to win matches," Niang said. "It doesn't matter who scores. We don't care, we're a team. We all want to win together."
Marseille remained in fifth place with 45 points but still has a game in hand, while Nancy dropped to 14th place, level on points with Sochaux.
Defending champion Bordeaux was scheduled to play Auxerre on Saturday, but the match has been postponed to allow the French club time to prepare for its Champions League game against Olympiakos this week.
In Saturday's other results, it was: Lens 3, Monaco 0; Nice 1, Lorient 0; Grenoble 0, Valenciennes 1; Paris Saint-Germain 1, Toulouse 0; and Boulogne 1, Le Mans 3.