PARIS — Center back Marko Basa and striker Nolan Roux scored a goal each as Lille beat Montpellier 2-0 on Sunday to strengthen its grip on third place in the French league.
Basa rose to powerfully head in Florent Balmont's free kick from the right in the 19th minute. Roux got his seventh league goal of the season in the 58th, finishing with an acrobatic volley after center back David Rozehnal's header came back off the crossbar.
"We're back on the front foot. We've been playing for a while now but there was always missing something," Lille coach Rene Girard said. "I thought the lads were very determined today. They created chances, scored goals. It's probably our best team performance of the year — there was more movement, more teamwork."
The win gives Lille some breathing space as fourth-placed Saint-Etienne fell four points behind, following a 1-0 loss at midtable Lorient. Forward Jeremie Aliadiere scored with a last-minute penalty after midfielder Joshua Guilavogui handled the ball.
"I'm disappointed because the team worked hard for a draw," Guilavogui said. "It's tough for me because I cost my team a point. But that's part of football, I hope that in the weeks to come I will help my team get some points."
Saint-Etienne had lost only one of its past 11 games but rode its luck before Aliadiere's goal.
Moments earlier, Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier saved midfielder Sadio Diallo's header and, from the rebound, Diallo headed again only for left back Benoit Tremoulinas to clear the ball off the line.
Saint-Etienne will be looking over its shoulder now, as bitter rival Lyon secured a dramatic 2-1 win away to Bordeaux to move up to fifth spot, three points behind them.
Midfielder Corentin Tolisso rose brilliantly to head in Maxime Gonalons' freekick in the fifth minute of injury time, after left back Henri Bedimo had equalized for Lyon in the first minute of stoppage time.
Bordeaux opened the scoring with forward Henri Saivet getting his third goal in the past four games, heading in Brazilian defender Mariano's cross in the seventh minute.
Midway through the second half, Lyon went close again as Mariano cleared Jimmy Briand's shot off the line.
Lyon's equalizer came after Bedimo won the ball in midfield, played it to Briand and received a return pass before cutting inside the area and poking the ball over the line from a narrow angle.
Then Tolisso's first career goal prompted wild scenes of delight on the Lyon bench.
"I was in the right place and we're happy to get the win," Tolisso said. "We believed in it, we believed we could do it and that's just great."
French leader Paris Saint-Germain won 3-0 at Bastia on Saturday to maintain its eight-point lead over Monaco.