METZ, April 26 (Ligue 1) - St Etienne continued their unlikely late charge for a fourth-placed finish with a narrow victory over rock-bottom Metz despite having a man sent off in the first half.
Geoffrey Dernis was red-carded just before the break but Bafetimbi Gomis' 47th minute strike proved enough to seal the win.
With only seven minutes on the clock it was the hosts who carved out the first real opportunity of the game.
The ball fell kindly for Miralem Pjanic after team-mate Laurent Agouazi had been tackled on the edge of the box.
Pjanic crossed towards Vincent Bessat who managed to steer the ball towards goal but St Etienne goalkeeper Jody Viviani saved well.
Metz went even closer in the 20th minute when Gueye grazed the woodwork with a header following good work from Bessat down the left flank.
St Etienne's only notable chance of the half came when Gomis fired just wide of the post after Dernis had sent him racing through.
But moments later Dernis was dismissed for slapping Laurent Agouazi.
Two minutes into the second half, St Etienne opened the scoring through Gomis.
Pascal Feindouno managed to steal the ball from Pjanic before releasing Christophe Landrin through on goal. Landrin then passed to Gomis who volleyed home from close range.
St Etienne almost doubled their lead minutes later when Yohan Benalouane headed down for Gomis in front of goal but Metz stopper Christophe Marichez saved well.
Ten minutes from time Metz had a chance to level the tie in a goalmouth scramble but defender Blaise Matuidi cleared the ball off the line after Sebastien Bassong had driven towards goal but it was St Etienne who hung on for the three points.