2013-12-22 03:01 AM
SAINT-ETIENNE, France (AP) -- Saint-Etienne made 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.
Later Saturday, it was: Bastia vs. Montpellier; Nice vs. Evian; Reims vs. Ajaccio; Sochaux vs. Rennes; and Toulouse vs. Guingamp.
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.
On a poor pitch, Saint-Etienne threatened early with tame efforts from Erding. The Saint-Etienne striker also set up Corgnet, whose first-time effort sailed over the bar in the ninth.
However, Corgnet did not miss the target 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 half time 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 with three minutes left.
Venezuela international Fernando Aristeguieta, who replaced Djordjevic, shot straight at goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier from 20 yards in the 45th.
Saint-Etienne, which lost 2-1 in extra time to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the League Cup on Wednesday, tired in the second half but Nantes could not create any scoring chance.
Erding added a second goal for the hosts from the penalty spot after Nantes substitute Chaker Alhadhur handled a high ball.
Riou prevented Nantes from conceding a third goal by tipping a last-minute effort from Erding over the bar.