PARIS (AP) — Saint-Etienne overcame a poor pitch to make up ground in the race for a European spot by defeating Nantes 2-0 in the French league on Saturday.
Benjamin Corgnet fired into the bottom corner in the 24th minute and Mevlut Erding converted a penalty in the 83rd.
Saint-Etienne provisionally climbed to fourth place with a game in hand while Nantes slipped to sixth.
"The pitch is not good, that's for sure," Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier said. "That's not funny because it's a pitch that generates injuries."
Also, Reims thrashed Ajaccio 4-1 to go level on points with Nantes, Sochaux edged Rennes 2-1 to leave the last spot to Ajaccio, and Nice rallied past Evian 3-1 for a third straight win in all competitions. Montpellier extended its winless streak to 11 games in all competitions by drawing 0-0 with Bastia while Toulouse also split the points with Guingamp, in a goalless draw.
On Friday, Valenciennes upset second-place Monaco 2-1.
On Sunday, leader Paris Saint-Germain hosts third-place Lille, Bordeaux visits Marseille and Lyon faces Lorient.
Saint-Etienne threatened early with tame shots from Erding. The Turkey striker also set up Corgnet, whose first-time effort sailed over the bar in the ninth.
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.
Nantes could have leveled before halftime despite losing its top striker Filip Djordjevic to an ankle injury in the 35th. Serge Gakpe outmuscled Saint-Etienne defender Jonathan Brison to win a loose ball but sent his half-volley wide.
Venezuela international Fernando Aristeguieta, who replaced Djordjevic, shot straight at goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier from 20 yards in the 45th.