Kalou rescues Lille with injury time winner
Lille's forward Salomon Kalou (L) celebrates after scoring a goal during a French L1 football match against Gingamp on March 30, 2014 at the "Pierre Mauroy" stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, northern France - by Philippe Huguen
Ivory Coast international Salomon Kalou came off the bench to prod the ball home in the 92nd minute to snatch three desperately needed points for Rene Girard's side.
The match appeared to be heading for a goalless draw before Kalou popped up inside the six yard box to knee the ball home following a corner from the right that led to a scramble.
The win extends Lille's advantage to six points over fourth placed Saint-Etienne who are involved in the Rhone derby at Lyon in the weekend's final match later on Sunday.
Lyon are alone in fifth spot and nine points adrift of Lille and the all important final Champions League berth for next season.
Earlier, Rennes made it back-to-back league wins with a confident 3-0 home success against Bastia that moved them eight points clear of the drop zone.
It was the first time this season that the Brittany outfit had picked up three straight victories following their French Cup quarter-final success over Lille on Thursday.
They will now play second division Angers for a place in the Stade de France final against either Monaco or Guingamp.
"It's been a beautiful week, with three wins in three matches without conceding a goal," said Rennes coach Philippe Montanier.
"It boosts morale after the many difficult weeks.
"It's a week which has put us on the right track. We took another step towards staying in the top flight, and the perspective of a French Cup semi-final has spiced up our season."
The hosts dominated from the outset with Romain Alessandrini opening the scoring after 14 minutes and Swedish striker Ola Toivonen doubling their advantage on 28 minutes.
Cameroonian midfielder Jean Makoun rounded off the scoring after 59 minutes.
The victory lifts Rennes up to 12th position and eight points above the relegation zone with seven matches to play.
The Corsican outfit remain in 10th position.
Monaco suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat away to Evian on Saturday to leave Paris Saint-Germain 13 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table with just seven games left.
Toulouse missed the opportunity to leapfrog Marseille into the top six as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Ajaccio in Corsica.
The visitors had fallen two goals behind as Ricardo Faty and Gadji Tallo netted for Ajaccio, but Issiaga Sylla pulled one back before Clement Chantome, the on-loan PSG midfielder, equalised.
But Toulouse missed a great chance to win the game when Jonathan Zebina saw a stoppage-time penalty saved by Guillermo Ochoa in the home goal.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Odair Fortes scored to earn Reims a 1-1 draw at home to Lorient, for whom Vincent Aboubakar netted a first-half penalty, while there were goalless stalemates between Montpellier and Valenciennes and Nantes and Bordeaux.
On Friday, champions PSG took another step towards retaining their title and warmed up for next Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at home to Chelsea by winning 1-0 at Nice.