Saint-Etienne overcame a poor pitch to make up ground in the race for a European spot by defeating Nantes 2-0 in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Saint-Etienne threatened early with tame efforts from Mevlut Erding. The Turkey striker also set up Benjamin Corgnet, whose early first-time effort sailed over the bar.
However, Corgnet did not miss in the 24th. Erding slipped the ball to the midfielder, who beat goalkeeper Remy Riou with a low strike from the edge of the box.
Erding converted a penalty in the 83rd minute after Nantes substitute Chaker Alhadhur handled a high ball.
Saint-Etienne provisionally climbed to fourth place with a game in hand while Nantes slipped to sixth.
Also Saturday, Reims thrashed Ajaccio 4-1 to go level on points with Nantes.
Gaetan Charbonnier gave the hosts a 2-0 lead with spectacular volleys in the 59th and 62nd minutes before Israeli forward Eliran Atar made it 3-0 with a chip in the 73rd.
Ajaccio forward Eduardo headed home to pull one back in the 75th, but Reims winger Floyd Ayite sealed the win in the 78th.
Sochaux edged Rennes 2-1 to leave the last spot to Ajaccio. Sochaux coach Herve Renard earned his first league victory since he was appointed on Oct. 7 to replace Eric Hely.
Sochaux striker Cedric Bakambu played a one-two with Vincent Nogueira before beating Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil for the winner in the 72nd minute.
Bakambu put the hosts ahead with a penalty in the 18th but Rennes winger Romain Alessandrini equalized also from the penalty spot in the 41st.
Nice rallied past Evian 3-1 for a third straight win in all competitions.
Montpellier extended their winless streak to 11 games in all competitions by drawing 0-0 with Bastia.
Toulouse also split the points with Guingamp in a 0-0 draw.