Saint-Etienne wins to strengthen grip on 4th place
Saint-Etienne wins to strengthen grip on 4th place and keep slim Champions League hopes alive
Associated Press
2014-05-04 11:01 PM

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.

Winger 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 place 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."

Saint-Etienne is provisionally five points ahead of fifth-placed Lyon, which travels to sixth-placed Marseille later Sunday.

Hamouma collected a pass with his back to goal, turned and hit a powerful shot into the top right corner from 25 yards (meters) for his ninth league goal of the season.

Erding pounced after Max-Alain Gradel's free kick hit the wall and looped up invitingly for the Turkey striker to also grab his ninth of the campaign.

In Sunday's other matches, it's: Lorient vs. Ajaccio; Reims vs. Evian; Sochaux vs. Nice; Toulouse vs. Nantes; and Valenciennes vs. Bordeaux.

Paris Saint-Germain can clinch the title on Wednesday if it beats Rennes at home or second-placed Monaco fails to beat Guingamp the same evening. They are playing Wednesday because Guingamp and Rennes contested the French Cup final on Saturday, with Guingamp beating its Brittany rival 2-0 to win the trophy for the second time.

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