Dec 16 (Reuters) - Lille shrugged off an early red card to consolidate second place in Ligue 1 on Sunday with a 3-2 win away to Nimes.
The win, Lille’s first league victory in Nimes since 1954, put the northern side on 34 points from 18 games, five ahead of third-placed Montpellier, who have played two games fewer.
Paris St Germain remain runaway leaders with 44 points from their unbeaten 16-game start.
Rafael Leao put Lille ahead after five minutes, Jonathan Bamba doubled their lead four minutes before halftime with his eighth goal of the season, and Nicolas Pepe made it 3-0 after 68 minutes.
Rachid Alioui got one back for the home side midway through the second half and Clement Depres cut the deficit further in stoppage time with a header, but it was not enough.
Lille’s win came in spite of playing most of the game with 10 men after Jose Fonte was sent off for gesturing to an official after just 16 minutes.
Ligue 1 has taken on an uneven look over the last two weeks as several games were postponed because of widespread anti-government protests across France.
With many of the games still to be rescheduled, some teams have played two games more than others.
Nice host St Etienne and Monaco travel to Olympique Lyonnais later on Sunday.
Reporting by Andrew Downie Editing by Toby Davis