PARIS — Teenage forward Anthony Martial continued his scoring form with his seventh goal in eight games as Monaco eased to a 3-0 win at last-place Lens to remain third in the French league on Sunday.
Saint-Etienne kept the pressure on Monaco with a 1-0 win over Montpellier but Monaco is two points ahead of Saint-Etienne with four games remaining in the chase for a Champions League spot.
Monaco was knocked out of the Champions League by Juventus in midweek — losing 1-0 on aggregate in a hard-fought quarterfinal — but has good momentum heading into the French league's home stretch.
"We knew it was an important game, a difficult game for us given the context," midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia said, referring to Lens' relegation battle. "We went out of the Champions League, but this is a different competition and we still have our objectives in the league."
Later Sunday, Lyon needs to win at Reims to move back above Paris Saint-Germain on goal difference at the top.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco scored Monaco's first in the 36th minute, skipping past two players and thumping a powerful shot into the top left corner, and then set up Martial with a superb pass with the outside of this foot moments before halftime. The 19-year-old Martial did the rest, collecting the ball in his path, advancing inside the area and placing a clinical low shot under the body of goalkeeper Rudy Riou.
Bernardo Silva has been Monaco's other form player in recent weeks, and the Portuguese midfielder made it four in three games with a close-range finish in the 72nd after good work from Martial down the left.
Lens is 12 points away from safety with the league's worst goal difference, and only has a remote chance of staying up if it wins all of four remaining games with resounding wins.
Earlier, Ivory Coast winger Max-Alain Gradel scored his eighth goal in eight games as Saint-Etienne extended its unbeaten run to nine league games and moved three points clear of fifth-place Marseille.
Coach Christophe Galtier has not given up hope of overtaking Monaco.
"The way we play isn't great to watch, but we're incredibly efficient and determined," Galtier said. "We're four games from the end and the podium is within sight. We'll give everything."
Gradel pounced in the 21st minute, volleying Benjamin Corgnet's cross past goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourden. Moments later, striker Lucas Barrios missed a good chance for seventh-place Montpellier, which is chasing a Europa League place.
PSG routed Lille 6-1 at home on Saturday, while Marseille lost 5-3 at home to Lorient on Friday.