PARIS (AFP) - A double by Korean international Park Chu-young inspired Monaco to a 3-2 victory over Nice on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run to seven league matches.
Park's brace, and one by Brazilian star Nene, ended a 14-year winless run against their opponents who are deep in relegation trouble having not won in their past nine games, a run which included a Cup exit at the hands of lower league Plabennec.
Leaders Bordeaux, meanwhile, were held to a 0-0 draw by second from bottom Boulogne - a late goal by Bordeaux's Moroccan international striker Marouane Chamakh was ruled out for an infringement.
Bordeaux saw their eight-point lead reduced to six when surprise packages Montpellier beat Marseille 2-0 later on Saturday, second-half goals by Karim Ait-Fana and an own-goal by Benoit Cheyrou enough to take the points.
Park - who on Friday signed a contract extension tying him to Monaco until 2013 - struck in the 19th minute with a header from a corner by Nene.
The goal came largely against the run of play as Nice controlled affairs in the first-half without ever being able to convert their chances with highly-rated French international striker Loic Remy shooting wide on two occasions.
Nice almost grabbed an equaliser shortly before half-time as Argentinian defender Renato Civelli produced an acrobatic bicycle kick which grazed the bar.
Nice deservedly did pull level in the 54th minute as Tunisian striker Chaouki Ben Saada tapped home the goalbound effort of Ivorian international midfielder Emerson Fae.
However, Monaco scored twice in quick succession as Park scored his second in the 59th minute heading home Nene's cross shot and then the Brazilian got the goal his all-round performance deserved.
He had the option of passing to an unmarked Park in the penalty area but isntead he went for goal on his own and easily shot home.
Nene's star display continued as he unleashed a dazzling 25-metre effort only for Nice's Colombian international 'keeper David Ospina to pull off an equally impressive save.
His stop was given even extra significance a few minutes later when Nice reduced the deficit with 10 minutes remaining as Didier Digard fired home a stunning free kick.
Lille kept up their challenge for a Champions League place as they beat northern rivals Lens 1-0, Belgian international defender Eden Hazard scoring in the 22nd minute.
The clubs in the relegation placings hardly did themselves any favours, bottom-placed Grenoble's joy at dumping Montpellier out of the French Cup last weekend became a distant memory as they were thrashed 4-0 by Rennes leaving them with a paltry return of just seven points from 22 league matches.
Sylvain Marveaux got a brace for Rennes while Grenoble's misery was complete when Hugo Cianci was given a straight red card in the 65th minute.
Le Mans slumped to a 3-1 home defeat by Toulouse giving St Etienne some breathing space as the fourth from bottom club - who are four points clear of the bottom three - play on Sunday away at Auxerre.
|10||Chu-Young Park||19' 60' 62'|
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