St Etienne holds off Metz

Metz, France ( - St Etienne's push for a European place continued on Saturday as the club secured a 3-2 win at last-place Metz to remain in fifth place.

Max-Alain Gradel and Mevlut Erdinc each scored late in the first half to hand the visitors a two-goal lead at the break.

Kevin Lejeune pulled one back for Metz in the 56th, but Yohan Mollo's tally 10 minutes from time secured the win before a late penalty kick from Yeni N'Gbakoto served as a consolation goal.

Metz entered the match with just four points from its last 14 league outings, but the hosts had a great chance to take the lead on the half-hour mark when Guido Milan's flicked header found Sylvain Marchal in front of goal, only for the former St Etienne man to lash his effort just over the crossbar.

It took 38 minutes for St Etienne to take the lead and Romain Hamouma played a big part as he cut in from the right wing and laid a ball off for Gradel to easily finish.

Hamouma was also the architect of the second goal with a nice ball over the top that allowed Erdinc to round goalkeeper Anthony Mfa and roll home a simple effort.

A mistake from St Etienne's Francois Clerc helped Lejeune send a vicious shot past goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier.

Mollo entered the match as a substitute in the second half and he scored five minutes after being introduced as Hamouma once again set the table with a nice ball that picked out Mollo, who held off a defender before beating Mfa.

Benjamin Corgnet was called for a handball inside his own area in the closing minutes, giving N'Gbakoto a late goal from the spot, but St Etienne held on for three big points.

Montpellier claimed a 3-1 win over Reims thanks to a pair of goals from Lucas Barrios, Nantes held off Evian, 2-1, Lorient downed 10-man Caen, 2-1, through goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Jordan Ayew, and Pablo Chavarria's 76th- minute goal was enough to lead Lens to a 1-0 win against Toulouse.