Substitute Kevin Gameiro’s goal 10 minutes from time gave Paris Saint-Germain a hard-fought 1-0 win over Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.
Substitute Gameiro tapped in from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic cross 10 minutes from time, just eight minutes after coming on the pitch.
PSG had plenty of chances to go ahead in the first half through Clement Chantome and Ibrahimovic, and had two penalty shouts turned down by referee Wilfried Bien.
Jeremy Menez came close in the second half but Carlo Ancelotti’s side were growing nervous by the time David Beckham was introduced with just under 20 minutes remaining.
But Gameiro’s goal put them eight points clear in Ligue 1 with eight games remaining, with second-placed Lyon playing Sochaux on Sunday night.
The home side should have been ahead after just 50 seconds, with Maxwell’s superb through ball finding Chantome in acres of space with just the goalkeeper to beat, but the midfielder dragged his low shot wide.
Halfway through the first period Ibrahimovic got on the end of Marco Verratti’s defence-splitting pass, but his connection was too harsh and the ball drifted harmlessly over the bar.
In a period of sustained pressure, PSG felt they should have had two penalties with Menez and then Gregory van der Wiel brought down in the area within four minutes of each other, but referee Bien was unconvinced on each occasion.
Still the pressure kept coming on Montpellier’s goal, with Thiago Silva’s header from the penalty spot parried wide by Geoffrey Jourdren.
Ibrahimovic had another chance to put his side ahead before half-time after receiving the ball in plenty of space from Menez, but he failed to really connect with his first-time shot and never tested Jourdren.
PSG started the second half much as they had finished the first, with Menez striking just wide from 20 yards after Ibrahimovic’s powerful knock-down.
Montpellier settled as the second half went on and restricted the amount of chances allowed to PSG, with Beckham introduced in the 71st minute in place of Marco Verratti.
And his side went ahead in the 80th minute through substitute Gameiro, who slotted home from two yards after unselfish work from Ibrahimovic and Menez on the counter attack.
Ibrahimovic went within inches of making it 2-0 after Beckham’s clever reverse free-kick, but PSG did not need the goal and held on for a vital three points, which leaves champions Montpellier languishing in seventh place and six points off a Champions League place.