St. Etienne back in win column
St Etienne ended a seven-match winless streak in Ligue 1 with narrow 2-1 victory over local rivals Evian.
All three goals came in a 14-minute spell at the start of the second half, with Laurent Batlles and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang putting St Etienne 2-0 ahead before Yannick Sagbo netted what would prove to only be a consolation for promoted Evian.
St Etienne move onto 13 points with the triumph while Evian remain on eight.
Both teams came into the match looking to taste victory for the first time since the opening weeks in the league.
St Etienne started the campaign with back-to-back wins but had failed to win in seven matches after that, while Evian's only triumph in nine games came against Nice in their first home match.
There were chances at both ends during a goalless first half, with Battles seeing an early free-kick deflected for a corner before then having an effort cleared off the line by Aldo Angoula, with Fabien Lemoine unable to hit the target with the follow-up.
For Evian, the unmarked Christian Poulsen headed wide at the near post following a Jerome Leroy corner, while visiting goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier needed two bites of the cherry to keep out Sagbo's 25-yard shot on the turn.
The closest either side came to a goal before the break though was in the 40th minute when Evian midfielder Daniel Wass sailed past Loris Nery before smashing in a shot that Ruffier turned onto the crossbar.
St Etienne survived that scare and they took the lead in the first minute after half-time.
Aubameyang did well down the right before driving in a low shot that Battles steered beyond home goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait from six yards out.
Five minutes after that St Etienne were celebrating a second goal. Albin Ebondo, Battles and Aubameyang played a nice triangle before the latter received the ball inside the area and sent a powerful right-footed shot past Laquait at his near post.
Evian pulled a goal back in the 58th minute when Sagbo slotted in at the second attempt after Ruffier had saved his initial header, but Bernard Casoni's side could not force an equaliser in the final half hour as St Etienne held on for the points.