PARIS -- Monaco needed a late goal from substitute Lucas Ocampos to beat Saint-Etienne 2-1 and move three points clear atop the French league on Saturday.
Ocampos met a low cross from James Rodriguez in the 87th minute to poke home the winner from a tight angle.
Belgian winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco opened the scoring for Monaco in the 15th before Saint-Etienne striker Romain Hamouma equalized in the 49th.
"We're putting pressure on the other teams," Monaco defender Eric Abidal said. "We know the beginning of the season is important. It's up to us to keep riding the momentum. . Teams will fear us more. It's always important to be chased instead of having to give chase."
Monaco is still undefeated after nine league matches.
Also, it was: Lille 3, Ajaccio 0; Toulouse 1, Nice 0; Nantes 3, Evian 0; Guingamp 2, Rennes 0; and Valenciennes 1, Reims 1.
On Sunday, Marseille hosts second-place Paris Saint-Germain, Bordeaux faces Sochaux and Lyon visits Montpellier.
On Friday, Bastia routed Lorient 4-1.
Monaco dominated the first half and Saint-Etienne was lucky to head back to the dressing room just a goal down.
Joao Moutinho intercepted a backpass from Saint-Etienne midfielder Renaud Cohade to be clean through on goal after nine minutes, but goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier saved Moutinho's effort from 18 metres.
Carrasco did not miss his chance six minutes later. The Belgian winger beat the offside trap to collect a through ball from Rodriguez and slip it past Ruffier.
Rodriguez arguably produced his best performance in the French league this season. The Colombia midfielder cut inside in the 26th to fire a long-range strike that Ruffier turned around the post.
Saint-Etienne's first chance came in the 30th when Tabanou chased a ball over the top from Cohade but missed the target from a tight angle.
The visitors levelled four minutes after the break. Hamouma took a pass from Cohade to beat Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Ruffier kept his team in the match by stopping a powerful drive from Rodriguez in the 59th and punching away a free kick from him in the 89th.
Saint-Etienne could have taken the lead against the run of play in the 84th. Substitute Max-Alain Gradel capitalized on a counterattack to bear down on goal but was denied by Subasic.
Lille earned its fourth straight clean sheet to go level on points with third-place Marseille.
Pape Souare put the 2011 champion ahead with a powerful header in the 16th. Idrissa Gueye made it 2-0 from close range in the 58th before forward Salomon Kalou converted a rebound in the 71st.
Striker Filip Djordjevic scored twice for Nantes, which stretched its winning streak to three games to climb to fifth place, a point behind Lille.
Djordjevic converted a cross from Serge Gakpe after two minutes and notched his sixth league goal this season in the 34th. Papy Mison Djilobodji sealed the win for the promoted side in the 66th.
Toulouse forward Wissam Ben Yedder scored the winner in the 34th to help his team move into the middle of the table.
Eloge Enza Yamissi scored an equalizer in stoppage time to snap Valenciennes' seven-match losing streak. Valenciennes still remained in last place despite that point. Prince Oniangue initially gave Reims the lead from a corner in the 30th.
In the Brittany derby, Jeremy Sorbon in the 47th and Mustapha Yatabare in the 70th scored for Guingamp while Rennes striker Nelson Oliveira was sent off after picking up a second yellow card in the 63rd.