Gradel's double powers St. Etienne past Lille

Saint Etienne, France ( - Max-Alain Gradel netted a pair of second-half goals on Sunday to lift Saint Etienne to a comfortable 2-0 win over Lille at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Hoping to maintain their charge for a Champions League play, Saint Etienne entered the clash riding a nice wave of positive momentum with four straight wins across all competitions.

Coming off an exciting 3-2 win over Metz last time out, Les Verts took a little while to get rolling on Sunday as the clubs traded barbs during a scoreless opening 45 minutes.

Things then took a positive turn for Saint Etienne in the 52nd minute when Marcos Lopes was shown a straight red card and dismissed from the pitch, reducing the visitors to 10 men.

Gradel then fired his team in front in the 63rd minute and completed his double in the 74th minute to wrap up an important three points.

The result pulls Saint Etienne to within two points of third-place Marseille for the final Champions League place.

Also in Ligue 1 on Sunday, Fabinho, Anthony Martial and Nabil Dirar all found the back of the net as Monaco claimed a 3-1 victory over Reims at the Stade Auguste Delaune II, while Michy Batshuayi netted a pair of goals to lead Marseille to a comfortable 4-0 thrashing of Lens.