Paris, Dec 4: Montpellier consolidated its top spot in the French league by routing Lorient 4-0 as Olivier Giroud set up three goals and scored one on Saturday.
The France international knocked the ball down for winger Geoffrey Dernis who fired home the opener in the 26th minute.
Giroud got his 12th goal in the 47th. Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard stopped a curling shot from playmaker Younes Belhanda but Giroud, the top scorer in the league, followed up to find the net.
Nigerian forward John Utaka received a pass from Giroud to add a third goal in the 62nd.
Giroud then pulled the ball back for substitute Remy Cabella who sealed the win in the 86th.
“When you live outstanding moments, it's because you have an outstanding squad,” Montpellier coach Rene Girard told Europe 1 radio. “The lads have gained confidence and have become ambitious.”
Also, it was: Ajaccio 2, Lille 3; Brest 2, Saint-Etienne 2; Dijon 0, Sochaux 0; Evian 2, Valenciennes 1; and Nice 2, Rennes 0.
Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard scored a late winner to help defending champion Lille keep pace in the title race, five points behind Montpellier, and put pressure on Paris Saint-Germain.
Hazard converted a penalty in the 80th after Ajaccio midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi fouled Florent Balmont.
Ajaccio opened the scoring in the second minute when Lille defender Aurelien Chedjou diverted into his own net a free kick from Christian Kinkela.
Lille leveled with a set-piece move from midfielder Ludovic Obraniak in the 12th before taking the lead in the 16th when centerback Marko Basa headed in a corner.
But striker Araujo Ilan capitalized on a defensive blunder from Basa to equalize in the 37th.
In Brest, Nolan Roux beat the offside trap to put the hosts ahead in the 23rd.
Gabon forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leveled the next minute with a diagonal shot.
Roux made it 2-1 by converting a rebound in the 27th after goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier had denied Brest winger Romain Poyet.
But Aubameyang tucked home a low pass from Max Gradel in the 87th to salvage a draw for Saint-Etienne, which went level on points with seventh-place Marseille.
Valenciennes was down to 10 men in the 14th when defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin was red-carded for fouling Evian striker Yannick Sagbo who was bearing down on goal.
Evian midfielder Olivier Sorlin beat goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau with a low shot in the 24th. Cedric Barbosa played a one-two with Sagbo to double the lead in the 33rd.
Valenciennes winger Gael Danic scored a consolation goal with a penalty in the 85th after Guillaume Rippert had fouled him.
In Nice, Argentine fullback Fabian Monzon converted a penalty in the 15th after Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil brought down Franck Dja Djedje. Nice defender Renato Civelli headed in a corner to add a second goal in the 35th.
Rennes centerback John Boye was sent off in the 46th for a violent tackle on Anthony Mounier.
Nice remained in the relegation zone while Rennes missed an opportunity to overtake Paris Saint-Germain in the standings.
On Sunday, PSG hosts Auxerre, Lyon faces Toulouse and Nancy visits Bordeaux.
Marseille edged Caen 2-1 on Friday to make up ground in the race for a European spot.