Defending champions Paris St-Germain, in third, are now six points behind Monaco but can narrow the gap when they play at Marseille on Sunday (20:00 GMT). Monaco were beaten5-3by Manchester City in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday. They host City for the second leg on Wednesday, 15 March. Elsewhere,Bordeauxmoved up to fifth with a 3-2 win away to aLilleside that had two players sent off in the final 10 minutes. Bottom sideLorientlost 1-0 atRennes,who move up to eighth,AngersbeatBastia3-0, andNancyandToulouseplayed out a goalless draw.
Reading have taken only five points from their five games in February and Leeds' win over Sheffield Wednesday in Saturday's early kick-off meant the Royals dropped to fifth position, 10 points from the top two. Chances were rare in the first 30 minutes but the game sparked into life with Baldock's superb shot against the upright. Al-Habsi kept out Knockaert's low attempt before Baldock's opening goal, while Reading's Danny Williams had a header saved by home goalkeeper David Stockdale, who also denied Roy Beerens from close range.
The victory was secured in a frantic passage of play early in the second half, when Brighton defender Shane Duffy reacted quickly to clear a Williams header off the line, and then the hosts broke swiftly from the resulting corner to make it 2-0. Knockaert's 11th league goal of the season, an angled shot from 15 yards, extended the Seagulls' unbeaten Championship run at home to 14 games.