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Saint-Etienne beats Lille 2-0 in French league

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm •  Published: January 17, 2014

SAINT-ETIENNE, France (AP) — Saint-Etienne made up ground in the race for a Champions League spot by defeating third-place Lille 2-0 Friday in the French league.

Brazilian striker Brandao opened the scoring with a header in the 55th minute before winger Franck Tabanou volleyed home from close range to double the lead in the 61st.

Lille was down to 10 men in the 62nd when midfielder Florent Balmont was red-carded for dissent.

Saint-Etienne bounced back from a French Cup elimination against lower-league Cannes on Tuesday to pull within three points of Lille.

The hosts struggled to provide some decent service to Brandao in a tactical first half. Lille center back David Rozehnal cleared dangerous crosses from Saint-Etienne wingers Romain Hamouma in the 27th and Tabanou in the 33rd.

The visitors did not create much either but were more threatening from set pieces. Lille defender Simon Kjaer headed a corner over the bar in the third minute before Salomon Kalou connected with a free kick from Balmont in the ninth for a header that Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier palmed away.

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