Two-goal Aubameyang lifts Etienne
In-form striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to help St Etienne beat Ligue 1 bottom club Nancy 3-0 on Saturday to close the gap on fourth-placed Nice to one point.
Fellow attacker Brandao put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute from a neat Renaud Cohade cross and Aubameyang made it 2-0 with a curling low shot five minutes before the break.
Gabon international Aubameyang's sixth goal in five games - his 14th in the league this season - then sealed victory with two minutes to go.
Nancy had Florent Zitte sent off in the 78th minute while St Etienne's Fabien Lemoine was dismissed 14 minutes earlier.
Fifth-placed St Etienne have 44 points from 26 games, one adrift of Nice who beat lowly Stade de Rimes 2-0 on Friday.
Nice and St Etienne are chasing Champions League qualification behind third from top Olympique Marseille who travel to Paris St Germain on Sunday when the league leaders could give a debut to former England captain David Beckham.
Second-placed Olympique Lyon, three behind PSG on 48 points, also host Lorient on Sunday.
Champions Montpellier are sixth with 41 points after beating third from bottom Evian Thonon Gaillard 1-0 thanks to a late Younes Belhanda goal.
Montpellier, who made a poor start to the season, have won four of their last five games and leapfrogged Stade Rennes on goal difference after the Brittany side needed a last-gasp goal from Jean Makoun to draw 2-2 at home to struggling Sochaux.
Makoun, on loan from English Premier League Aston Villa, scored following an 88th-minute corner as Rennes rescued a point after having twice trailed.
John Boye headed home in the 34th minute to cancel out Giovanni Sio's opener for Sochaux who then regained the lead with a superb Sebastien Corchia strike in the 56th.
Rennes are one point ahead of 10-man Lille who won 3-1 at Ajaccio.
A Yohann Poulard own goal handed the 2011 champions the lead in the 38th minute and Lille cruised home despite having full back Lucas Digne dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Matthieu Chalme in the 61st.
Dimitri Payet grabbed his ninth and 10th league goals of the season as Lille rose to eighth in the table.