Saint-Etienne wins to strengthen grip on 4th place

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm •  Published: May 4, 2014
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PARIS (AP) — Saint-Etienne beat Montpellier 2-0 in the French league on Sunday to strengthen its grip on fourth place and keep alive its slim hopes of securing a Champions League spot, while Marseille stayed on track for a Europa League place after beating rival Lyon 4-2 at home.

Striker Andre-Pierre Gignac scored twice in the second half to take his league tally to 16 for the season and move sixth-place Marseille two points behind Lyon in their battle for fifth place. Center half Souleymane Diawara and winger Florian Thauvin put Marseille 2-0 up before midfielder Arnold Mvuemba pulled one back for Lyon.

But Gignac's brace put Marseille in complete control before striker Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed a late consolation goal with a clinical turn and finish for his 14th league goal of the campaign.

"We really enjoyed that tonight. We wanted to make up for last season when they beat us 4-1 here," Marseille winger Andre Ayew said. "We're two points behind Lyon now and we'll see what happens on the last day. Now we have a big game away to Bordeaux, and it's been 35 years since Marseille has not won there, so we're going to have to change that."

Diawara profited from bad defending to head home from a free kick and Thauvin headed in a cross to the back post to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute. Gignac took down a long ball, cut inside two defenders and beat goalkeeper Anthony Lopes at the second attempt to make it 3-1. He added another from close range in the 56th after Lopes had saved Thauvin's shot from just inside the penalty area.

Earlier, Romain Hamouma put Saint-Etienne ahead in the 48th minute and forward Mevlut Erding made sure of the win in the 57th.

Saint-Etienne needs to win its last two matches to stand any chance of overtaking third-placed Lille, which is five points ahead.

Hamouma, however, thinks settling for fourth place and a Europa League spot is more realistic.

"Finishing fourth is really close to our hearts and we'll do everything we can to stay there," Hamouma said. "We missed out last season and we don't want that to happen again."

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