Gradel scores winner as St. Etienne moves into 6th


PARIS (AP) -- Saint-Etienne won 1-0 at former champion Montpellier on Friday to move provisionally into sixth place in the French league.

Forward Max-Alain Gradel turned in a cross from defender Faouzi Ghoulam in the 75th minute after some good approach work from winger Franck Tabanou and Brazilian striker Brandao.

Chances were scarce in a scrappy game.

Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren kicked away a volley from Tabanou early on and Montpellier winger Anthony Mounier headed just over from a corner in the 31st minute.

Jourdren saved a shot from winger Benjamin Corgnet shortly after halftime, and Saint-Etienne defender Loic Perrin was relieved to see the ball bounce off the post when he deflected a cross from Remy Cabella midway through the second half.

Struggling Montpellier is one place above the relegation zone.