14.03.2015 20:29 h

Saint-Etienne keep up European bid with win at Metz

Saint-Etienne kept up their bid for European football next season and added to relegation fears for Metz with a 3-2 victory in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

Leaders Lyon are not in action until Sunday, when they travel to third-placed Marseille who are four points off the pace, while Paris Saint-Germain, one point behind Lyon, travel to seventh-placed Bordeaux.

It will be the first game for Laurent Blanc's defending champions, who are in the hunt for four trophies since their heroic Champions League victory over Chelsea on Wednesday.

PSG are already in the League Cup final against Bastia, play Saint-Etienne in the French Cup semi-finals as well as being in the hunt for a third straight Ligue 1 title and being in the Champions League quarter-final draw next Friday.

Saint-Etienne move back within a point of fourth-placed Monaco, who crushed Bastia 3-0 on Friday, thanks to goals from Ivory Coast striker Max-Alain Gradel, Mevlut Erding and Yohan Mollo.

Visiting coach Christophe Galtier said he was pleased with the win but disappointed that his side conceded twice. "We scored three goals, and they were good goals, well constructed and well developed but we didn't control the match because we conceded twice," said the Saint-Etienne coach.

"We are conceding too many goals, but the most important thing is that our strikers are scoring and that gives them confidence.

"We should have wrapped up the match before but fortunately we scored the third goal," added Galtier.

The defeat leaves Metz nine points from safety and in danger of returning to Ligue 2 with just nine matches to save their top flight status.

In other matches Saturday, several teams involved in relegation battles took centre stage.

At Lens, the 1998 French champions gave themselves a glimmer of hope of staying in Ligue 1 with a vital 1-0 home win over Toulouse.

The Northern club remain seven points from safety but a well taken goal from Pablo Chavarria with 13 minutes left at least gave them reason for hope.

Brittany club Lorient also picked up three crucial points to move five points above Toulouse and the final relegation spot with a 2-1 win over Caen.

Evian find themselves sucked towards the bottom three after they lost 2-1 at Nantes, meaning they remain three points above Toulouse.

Finally, Montpellier climbed back into European contention with a 3-1 home win over Reims and are now sixth ahead of Bordeaux, only on goal difference, while the Girondins can retake their advantage with at least a point at home to PSG in the weekend's penultimate match on Sunday.