St Etienne topples Nantes to reach top four

Saint Etienne, France (SportsNetwork.com) - St Etienne climbed into the top four in Ligue 1 on Saturday as goals from Benjamin Corgnet and Mevlut Erding helped the club to a 2-0 home win over Nantes.

The result moves St Etienne one point clear of Nantes and into fourth place, but the club is still nine points back of third-place Lille.

Corgnet helped his side seize the lead in the 24th minute when Max Gradel and Erding combined to set him up with a shot from inside the penalty area that he calmly finished from 15 yards.

Nantes came close to equalizing before halftime when Serge Gakpe stole the ball in the offensive third and beat goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier with his shot, only to see the ball clip the outside of the post.

The home side was more positive in the second half and was denied a second goal by some good work from Nantes goalkeeper Remy Riou.

But St Etienne was able to wrap up the win in the final 10 minutes when Nantes midfielder Chaker Alhadhur was called for handling the ball inside his own penalty area, allowing Erding to send Riou the wrong way from the spot.

Nice came from a goal down at halftime to notch a 3-1 win over Evian as Eric Bautheac scored twice in the span of nine minutes, while Sochaux moved off the bottom of the league and to within six points of safety with a 2-1 win over Rennes as Cedric Bakambu netted both goals.

Toulouse and Guingamp battled to a 0-0 draw, Reims scored four goals in the span of 18 minutes in the second half, including two from Gaetan Charbonnier, in a 4-1 triumph over Ajaccio, with Bastia and Montpellier ending 0-0.