St Etienne ended a run of four games without a win with an entertaining 3-2 victory at home to Ligue 1 strugglers Lorient on Sunday.
Three losses and a draw from their last four games had seen St Etienne lose touch with the top of the table, but a flying start against Lorient helped them get back on track.
The hosts led 2-0 inside 15 minutes thanks to Brandao's opener and a Benjamin Corgnet strike.
They had chances to go further clear, but instead were pegged back by Yann Jouffre's effort nine minutes before the break.
Max Gradel restored St Etienne's two-goal cushion and, even though Vincent Aboubakar pulled another one back, Lorient could not find a leveller.
The visitors had the first chance in the opening minute when Jeremie Aliadiere combined well with Aboubakar before forcing a save out of goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier.
But it was St Etienne who went in front after seven minutes as Brandao headed home Franck Tabanou's corner.
Corgnet, the former Lorient player, made it two in the 13th minute.
Tabanou was again the creator, releasing Corgnet, who brought the pass under control before firing a shot into the top corner.
Corgnet then headed a Brandao cross against the bar, while the latter was denied by a fine save from Fabien Audard as the hosts threatened to run riot.
Instead Lorient got back in it as Mathieu Coutadeur found Jouffre on the edge of the area and his low shot found the net.
Jouffre brought a save out of Ruffier early in the second half as Lorient eyed a leveller, while at the other end Gradel's cross picked out Brandao, whose close-range volley was blocked by the busy Audard.
The hosts got a third in the 71st minute, Gradel dispatching a low shot from around the penalty spot following Faouzi Ghoulam's cross.
Lorient would not lie down, though, and Aboubakar's 84th-minute diving header at the back post from Kevin Monnet-Paquet's corner gave them hope again, but St Etienne held out.