Montpellier beats Sochaux 2-1 to pressure PSG


PARIS (AP) -- Montpellier beat relegation battlers Sochaux 2-1 to move provisionally three points clear at the top of the French league and keep the pressure on title rival Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.

Midfielder Younes Belhanda gave Montpellier an early lead and, after Modibo Maiga equalized for the visitors with his third goal in three games, striker Souleymane Camara scored the winner early in the second half.

Montpellier also opened up a seven-point gap on third-place Lille after the defending champion, which has played one game more, lost 3-1 at Brest.

Lyon was playing struggling Auxerre later Saturday.

PSG takes on bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.

Also, it was: Ajaccio 1, Saint-Etienne 1; Dijon 0, Nancy 2; Evian 1, Rennes 3, and Valenciennes 2, Toulouse 0.

Veteran midfielder Jerome Leroy gave Evian the lead against his former club, but sixth-placed Rennes replied with second-half goals from forward Youssouf Hadji, winger Jonathan Pitroipa and striker Mevlut Erding.

Nancy and Valenciennes are both nestled in mid-table and closer to safety after their wins.

Midfielder Bakaye Traore scored both of Nancy's goals, taking his tally to four in the last three games.

Valenciennes made the most of the extra man after Toulouse winger Franck Tabanou was sent off late in the first half. Midfielder Gael Danic opened the scoring in the 62nd minute and Mamadou Samassa sealed the win with a late penalty.

Toulouse, which has lost its last two matches, remains in fifth place.

Ajaccio continued to climb away from the relegation zone after defender Carl Medjani canceled out Florent Sinama-Pongolle's opener.

In Sunday's other games, Caen faces Bordeaux, and Nice takes on Lorient.