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French Ligue 1

Stade de la Mosson 14th December 2013 - Kick off 19:00

Montpellier Montpellier vs St Etienne St Etienne

More Montpellier woe

Last Updated: 13/12/13 10:51pm

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Francois Clerc in action

Francois Clerc in action

Rolland Courbis' second spell in charge of Montpellier began with a 1-0 defeat to St Etienne as the 2012 Ligue 1 champions slipped further into the relegation mire.

Courbis took the reins on Monday following the resignation of Jean Fernandez but he could not inspire HSC to victory as a goal from Max Gradel handed the visitors all three points.

The 60-year-old saved Montpellier from relegation to the French third division towards the end of the 2006-07 season but, after leading the club into Ligue 1, he had to make way for title-winning boss Rene Girard in order to complete a two-year prison sentence for his role in a corruption scandal concerning former club Marseille.

And it looks like he will face another relegation battle with his side just five points above the drop-zone after nine league games without a win.

Franck Tabanou had the first effort of the night as he was found by Francois Clerc but could only fire into the side-netting.

The midfielder was enjoying a lively start and saw a volley saved by Geoffrey Jourdren before he shot wide in the 29th minute.

Benjamin Corgnet then fired over the bar in the dying moments of the half and Montpellier will have been grateful to get in level at the interval.

Jourdren was called on to make a save from Corgnet in the 47th minute before the home side eventually found their feet and Morgan Sanson missed the target from 25 yards.

Souleymane Camara saw another effort go wide for Montpellier before St Etienne got the goal they deserved with 15 minutes to play.

Brandao crossed into the area where Faouzi Ghoulam flicked the ball on towards Gradel at the far post and the Ivorian volleyed home.

Camara headed inches over the bar in the closing stages as the visitors searched for a second but one was enough to move them up to fourth ahead of the rest of the weekend's games.

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French Ligue 1

French Ligue 1
Pos Team P Pts
1 Paris St Germain 38 89
2 Monaco 38 80
3 Lille 38 71
4 St Etienne 38 69
5 Lyon 38 61
6 Marseille 38 60
7 Bordeaux 38 53
8 Lorient 38 49
9 Toulouse 38 49
10 Bastia 38 49
11 Reims 38 48
12 Rennes 38 46
13 Nantes 38 46
14 Evian Thonon Gaillar 38 44
15 Montpellier 38 42
16 Guingamp 38 42
17 Nice 38 42
18 Sochaux 38 40
19 Valenciennes 38 29
20 AC Ajaccio 38 23