AS Saint-Etienne beat defending champion Montpellier Herault 4-1 to move up to fourth place in the Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Montpellier had found a bit of form to win their previous two league games, but they fell quickly behind to striker Brandao’s goal, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with his 11th of the season, and winger Yohan Mollo made it 3-0 before halftime.
Winger Remy Cabella pulled a goal back early into the second half, before the match was interrupted because of heavy snow.
“I won’t dispute the fact that these were borderline playing conditions, but I will savor this win. We scored four goals and beat the defending champions,” Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier said. “I wish to praise the attitude shown by my players, the way in which they played.”
When the players resumed, midfielder Mathieu Bodmer added the fourth goal in his first appearance since joining on loan from league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Les Verts have won four straight league games and their next two matches are away to struggling Stade de Reims and AS Nancy-Lorraine.
Montpellier coach Rene Girard said the game should have been called off midway through the second half.
“I told the referee what I thought. I find it scandalous,” Girard said.
Elsewhere, fifth-placed OGC Nice were held to a 1-1 home draw by Lorient and sixth-placed Girondins de Bordeaux lost 1-0 at AC Ajaccio.
In Saturday’s other matches, it was AS Nancy-Lorraine 1, Stade de Reims 2; ES Troyes AC 0, Sochaux-Montbeliard 0; and Valenciennes 2, Stade Brestois 29 1.
Ajaccio have been hard to beat in recent weeks and the Corsican side settled the match with a goal from midfielder Ricardo Faty in the 31st minute.
Meanwhile, leftback Lucas Mareque gave Lorient the lead with 15 minutes left, but Nice salvaged a point thanks to midfielder Valentin Eysseric’s 82nd-minute goal.
Nancy had won their previous two games to give them hope in the relegation scrap and they took the lead through centerback Sebastien Puygrenier in the 29th minute, but fellow strugglers Reims hit back with second-half goals from midfielders Floyd Ayite and Odair Fortes to move out of the relegation zone.