PARIS (AP) — Monaco lost ground in the French title race on Friday after slipping to a 2-1 home defeat against struggling Valenciennes.
Second-place Monaco's loss means that league leader Paris Saint-Germain can go into the winter break five points clear if it beats third-place Lille at home on Sunday.
Valenciennes took the lead in the 30th minute when veteran France defender Eric Abidal scored an own goal, and midfielder David Ducourtioux made it 2-0 in the 58th.
Colombia winger James Rodriguez continued his fine recent form when he pulled a goal back in the 84th.
Despite a crucial win, Valenciennes remains mired in the relegation zone in 18th place.