PARIS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Youssouf Hadji's double in the last 10 minutes gave leaders Nancy a 2-0 victory over Lorient in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
The Lorraine side, who have a game in hand of their main rivals, have 19 points from eight games and lead Valenciennes by two points after the northern side beat Monaco 1-0 courtesy of a Johan Audel first-half goal.
Nancy, who slumped to their first league defeat of the season last weekend at RC Lens, showed patience before prevailing against Lorient.
Morocco midfielder Hadji headed home David Sauget's cross after 80 minutes to give Nancy the lead and put the result beyond doubt six minutes later with another header.
Le Mans are in third place three points off the pace after a 1-0 win at Racing Strasbourg through Romaric's first-half goal.
Six times champions Olympique Lyon, who were thrashed 3-0 at Barcelona in their Champions League opener this week, will move up to second a point off the top if they beat Lille on Sunday.
Nice jumped five places to seventh by beating St Etienne thanks to Bakary Kone's double and a late David Hellebuyck goal.
Racing Lens, down to 10 men after midfielder Abdou Kader Mangane was sent off, snatched a 1-1 draw at Toulouse, who looked very tired after playing a UEFA Cup tie on Thursday.
Metz, who started the day bottom, clinched a first victory of the season when they beat fellow promoted side Caen 2-1 away.
Earlier, Daniel Niculae struck twice in six first-half minutes to give AJ Auxerre a 2-0 win over Olympique Marseille.
The Romanian striker opened the scoring after 19 minutes with a shot from close range after being set up by midfielder Benoit Pedretti.
Five minutes later he met Kevin Lejeune's cross and beat goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for the second time.
Lejeune was sent off with 14 minutes left for a second yellow card but Auxerre held on to clinch their second win in a row and move up to 15th with nine points from nine games.
Marseille, who overcame Besiktas 2-0 in their Champions League opener on Tuesday but have not won in Ligue 1 since beating Caen last month, dropped to 16th on seven points.
Albert Emon's side were without playmaker Samir Nasri, who was ruled out of the game with influenza.