Montpellier beats Saint-Etienne 1-0 in France

TRUNG LATIEULE Associated Press Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Montpellier put pressure on Paris Saint-Germain in the French title race by taking the provisional lead with a 1-0 victory over Saint-Etienne on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud notched his 18th goal this season by volleying home from the edge of the box in the 89th minute.

Saint-Etienne was down to 10 men from the 76th when defender Jean-Pascal Mignot was red-carded for fouling Remy Cabella who was clean through on goal.

PSG can restore its two-point lead with a win over Bordeaux on Sunday.

Also, it was: Evian 0, Lille 3; Lyon 2, Sochaux 1; Nice 1, Marseille 1; Ajaccio 1, Lorient 1.

Valenciennes played Rennes later Saturday.

Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard shone again for defending champion Lille by scoring the opening goal and setting up the second.

Hazard converted a penalty in the 36th after Evian centerback Cedric Cambon fouled him.

Lille forward Dimitri Payet doubled the lead in the 55th with an assist from Hazard then Benoit Pedretti sealed the win with a long-range strike off the post in the 67th.

Lille remained in third place, seven points behind Montpellier.

In Lyon, centerback Dejan Lovren put the hosts ahead by heading home a free kick from Kim Kallstrom in the third minute.

Bafetimbi Gomis capitalized on a counterattack to make it 2-0 with a chip in the 65th.

Sochaux substitute Modibo Maiga scored a consolation goal in the 71st.

Lyon still trailed Lille by four points but kept alive its hopes of a Champions League spot whereas Sochaux remained in the relegation zone.

In Nice, fullback Fabian Monzon salvaged a draw for the hosts with a spot kick in the 76th after Marseille defender Rod Fanni fouled Esmael Goncalves.

Marseille saw midfielder Charles Kabore sent off on the stroke of halftime but still managed to take the lead in the 56th when Ghana winger Andre Ayew converted a cross from Cesar Azpilicueta.

Marseille snapped a seven-game losing streak in all competitions but virtually fell out of contention for a Champions League berth.

In Ajaccio, striker Araujo Ilan leveled in the 60th after Lorient defender Gregory Bourillon nodded in a corner in the fifth minute.

Nancy moved away from the relegation zone with a low strike from midfielder Bakaye Traore in the 18th.

On Sunday, Auxerre visits Toulouse and Dijon faces Caen.