Lille eases past Rennes

Lille jumped to eighth place in Ligue 1 on Friday after securing a 2-0 win over Rennes at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole.

Rudi Garcia's side got off to a good start early in the match courtesy of an own goal from Rennes defender Chris Mavinga to grab the lead, and the hosts were able to nail down all three points via a second-half tally from Dimitri Payet.

The victory extends the home side's unbeaten run in league play to three straight matches, while Rennes was unable to build upon a 2-0 win over Toulouse last Sunday.

Lille had the upper hand for most of the 90 minutes and sent 14 shots in the direction of Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil's net. But Les Dogues received some good fortune when Mavinga deflected one into his own net in the 24th minute.

The hosts put the result on ice in the 61st minute through Payet, who got his head to a cross from Salomon Kalou and nodded it into the bottom-right corner.

Lille is just three points adrift from a Champions League qualifying spot with the result, while Rennes remains in fifth place on 40 points.

League-leaders Paris Saint-Germain highlight this weekend's action as Les Rouge-et-Bleu travel to the Stade Auguste Bonal to tangle with relegation- battling Sochaux on Sunday.

Coming off a narrow 2-1 first-leg win over Valencia in the Champions League Round-of-16 on Tuesday, the capital club will quickly need to re-focus on league play as it attempts to extend its unbeaten run in France's top flight to 10 consecutive matches.

David Beckham participated in training on Wednesday and Thursday and could make his highly-anticipated debut for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Sochaux, meanwhile, looks to avoid a fourth consecutive game without a win.

Bordeaux suffered a 1-0 loss to Ajaccio last week, but faces a tough test on Sunday as it looks to get back into the win column against a motivated Lyon side which has faltered of late, losing two straight Ligue 1 matches.

Also on Sunday, St. Etienne hosts Reims at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard hoping to extend its winning streak in league play to four straight matches.

Third-place Marseille kicks off Saturday's slate of games looking to snap a three-game losing streak in league play when it hosts Valenciennes at the Velodrome.

Marseille played to a disappointing 1-1 draw against Evian last week, but can move into second place in Ligue 1 by claiming all three points, coupled with a loss by Lyon.

Sixth-place Nice will attempt to move up the table when it travels to the Stade Armand-Cesari to face Bastia, which is coming off a 3-1 loss to PSG last week and has not won a league match since a 2-1 triumph over Reims on Jan 13.

Brest will try to move further away from the bottom three on Saturday when it hosts Ajaccio at the Stade Francis-Le Ble. Brest is just one point clear of the drop zone, but can give itself some much-needed breathing room with a victory.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Lorient hosts Evian at the Stade du Moustoir looking to put the brakes on a three-game winless run in league play, while defending champions Montpellier go for their third win in four league matches at the Stade de la Mosson against bottom-of-the-table Nancy, which is also on the hunt for its third win in four tries.

Toulouse wraps up Saturday with a clash against bottom-three side Troyes hoping to snap a two-match slide.