St Etienne got their bid for Champions League football back on track with a 3-0 win at home to Valenciennes on Saturday.
A goal on the stroke of half-time from Renaud Cohade and second-half efforts from Benjamin Corgnet and Yohan Mollo kept the hosts in the hunt for a top-three finish.
Their hopes were hit by a 2-0 loss at Bordeaux last time out, but this win put them back to within a point of third-placed Lille, who play on Sunday.
Valenciennes' concerns are at the other end of the table, though, and this loss kept them in the bottom three.
St Etienne were on top from the off, Corgnet firing wide and then bringing a smart stop out of Nicolas Penneteau with a powerful shot from Jonathan Brison's cross.
Penneteau then kept out a Brandao header from Romain Hamouma's perfectly-flighted cross, but he was finally beaten in first-half stoppage time as Cohade tapped home following a Franck Tabanou corner.
VA at last worked Stephane Ruffier in the home goal as Maor Melikson tried his luck from the edge of the area early in the second half, but St Etienne were soon up and running again.
Corgnet doubled their lead in the 55th minute, pouncing on a loose ball and finishing with a powerful drive across the keeper.
Brandao volleyed inches over before Mollo added a stylish third five minutes from time, curling home a superb shot after being found by Mevlut Erding.