Easy for St Etienne
Last Updated: 27/01/13 3:37pm
Brandao: Opened the scoring
St Etienne boosted their hopes of European football next season with a routine Ligue 1 victory over Bastia at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday afternoon.
Brandao opened the scoring after nine minutes and further goals in the final 11 minutes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Josua Guilavogui sealed Les Verts' first home league win since November.
The result - a repeat scoreline from the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign - lifted the hosts provisionally to sixth in the standings.
A second straight defeat for Bastia left them just five points clear of the drop zone and increased the importance of next week's clash with relegation-threatened Evian.
St Etienne wasted little time and, with Aubamayeng pulling the strings, Brazilian Brandao tested Mickael Landreau early on before putting his side ahead in the eighth minute.
Fabien Lemoine's cross caused confusion in the Bastia defence, allowing Brandao to turn and poke the ball beyond Landreau.
Moments later the former Marseille striker got the better of Landreau again but saw his effort come back off the left post.
With chances coming thick and fast, Bastia hit Les Verts on the counter-attack but Florian Thauvin's shot was turned away by Stephane Ruffier after Ilan had picked him out.
Thauvin continued to cause problems for St Etienne and shortly before the half-four mark he escaped the attentions of three defenders before firing a shot just wide of the right post with Ruffier beaten.
Both goalkeepers were called upon again before the break, Landreau making a superb one-handed save from Aubameyang and Ruffier clawing the ball away from just under his bar following a long-range Gilles Cioni effort.
St Etienne's Renaud Cohade forced a save from Landreau just after the restart with a 20-yard blast but the high-tempo rhythm from the first half slowed a little as both sides got to grips with the game.
The visitors thought they had an opportunity to get back in the game on the hour mark, but Loic Perrin's clumsy challenge on Anthony Modeste inside the area brought no response from the referee.
Landreau was impeccable once again soon after, the Bastia keeper turning away another Aubameyang attempt.
Despite his best efforts, though, Landreau was picking the ball out of his net soon after. The impressive Aubameyang latched onto a Guilavogui pass before beating the keeper with his right foot from inside the area.
The points were wrapped up five minutes from time when Aubameyang turned provider for Guilavogui, who timed his run perfectly before bending the ball beyond Landreau and into the bottom-right corner.
French Ligue 1
|4||Paris St Germain||8||14|
|18||Evian Thonon Gaillar||8||7|