Alassane Plea scored again, but OGC Nice had to settle for a point with a 1-1 draw at home to fellow top-five challengers Stade Rennais FC on Sunday.
OGC Nice 1-1 Stade Rennais FC
With one point and two places between Nice in seventh and Rennes in fifth at kick-off, and with UEFA Europa League qualification at stake, the game started in tense mood.
Both sides warmed to the task eventually though, and Pléa's deflected shot put Nice in front on 17 minutes - the decisive touch coming off the back of Rennes centre-back Jérémy Gélin to give the hosts' in-form forward his seventh goal in four league outings.
Rennes came into the game unbeaten in seven, and soon hit back - Benjamin Bourigeaud's movement was too good for Marlon Santos, the Rennes man stealing in front of the Brazilian centre-back to net from close range (27').
Bourigeaud came close to giving Sabri Lamouchi's side a half-time lead from a lot further out, but his brilliant attempted lob from just inside his own half was turned over by a backpedalling Walter Benitez (39').
With parity restored, neither side seemed willing to take the risks necessary to win it in the second half.
Wahbi Khazri brought a comfortable early save from Benitez (46') while Plea tested Koubek - the Czech goalkeeper's parry almost dropped for Pierre Lees-Melou (50').
Mehdi Zeffane then blocked a shot from Nice's summer signing from Dijon FCO (52') as neither side could find a way through to leave it all to play for in the remaning six matches of the season.
THE PLAYER: Alassane Plea
Hard-working and another goal, this was a fine display from the Nice forward, who is bang in form. It bodes well for Nice, who will need the former Olympique Lyonnais man to maintain his momentum if they are to squeeze into the top five.
THE STAT: 3
Bourigeaud's goal was Rennes' first in three visits to Nice for a Ligue 1 Conforama fixture.