PARIS (AFP) - St Etienne went top of the French first division for the first time in 29 years on Saturday after a 3-0 win over Montpellier.
The win maintained their unbeaten start to the season and allowed them to nip ahead of previous leaders Toulouse, who drew 0-0 at Monaco, on goal difference.
Dimitri Payet grabbed two of the goals to take his season's tally to six.
He opened the scoring in the 21st minute after taking the ball around defender Abdelhamid El Kaoutari and goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourden.
He added the third in the 65th minute after reacting quickest to a free-kick which had come back off a post.
In between, Emmanuel Riviere grabbed the second by heading in a left wing cross from Bakary Sako which had been badly misjudged by El Kaoutari.
The victory also set up St Etienne for their eagerly-awaited derby clash with Lyon next weekend.
That will be the teams' 100th meeting with the Greens not having won since 1993.
St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier refused to get carried away with his team's fine start, wary of how they flirted with relegation last season.
"For us the objective it to get 42 points as quickly as possible and today we already have 13," he said.
"Things can change very quickly in football. Our rivals are not the likes of Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux. It is the 12 or 13 teams who are just looking for the best finish in order to stay in Ligue 1."
Defending champions Marseille recovered from their midweek 1-0 defeat to Spartak Moscow in the Champions League to hand promoted Arles-Avignon their sixth defeat in six games this season.
Marseille moved up to seventh in the table with a 3-0 win in which Benoit Cheyrou opened the scoring before former Arles player, Ghana star Andrew Ayew picked up a brace.
Sochaux were the night's biggest winners seeing off Nice 4-0 to move into fifth spot with Ideye Brown, Ryad Boudebouz, Marvin Martin and Modibo Maiga all on target in the second half.
Caen are fourth after a 1-0 away win against Lorient with Youssef El Arabi scoring for the fourth time this season.
|7||D. Payet||21' 67'|
|Coach: C. Galtier|
for B. Sako 73'
for L. Perrin 76'
for D. Payet 87'
|Moreirense 1 Sporting Lisbon 4: Montero double keeps title hopes alive|
|Bournemouth 3 Bolton Wanderers 0: Howe´s men on the verge of the Premier League|
|Valencia 4 Granada 0: Hosts resume fourth place with thrashing|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Besiktas back on top as Fenerbahce slip|
|Denis hit with five-game ban for dressing-room attack|
|Arabian Gulf League Review: Ajman relegated, Al Jazira close in on second|
|Zanetti: Icardi close to signing new deal|
|Pfaff hails Neuer´s consistency|
|Blanc: PSG can cope with physical demands|
|Bruce: Premier League must act on ticketing prices|
|Milan v Genoa: Off-field problems dominate build-up for Inzaghi´s men|
|Juventus v Fiorentina: Champions seek derby reaction with title in sight|
|Arminia Bielefeld v Wolfsburg: Hecking´s men in last-chance saloon|
|Real Madrid v Almeria: Rodriguez vows to fight until the end|
|Klopp ´an option´ to replace Guardiola at Bayern|
|Home form crucial for Premier League survival, says Bruce|
|Leicester City v Chelsea: Mourinho backs Pearson´s men to survive|
|Villarreal v Atletico Madrid: Marcelino´s men bidding to end winless run|
|Bundesliga title a footnote in Bayern´s grand plans|
|Robben back as Guardiola calls for focus|
|Mancini: Be patient with Shaqiri, Podolski|
|Klopp shrugs off Gundogan speculation|
|Run-in does not favour Barca - Luis Enrique|
|Mourinho takes further swipe at ´boring´ claims|
|Watford must spend smart, says Hyde|
|Allegri saddened by derby crowd trouble|
|Thompson ´mortified´ after throwing pole into team-mate´s leg|
|Hernandez not concerning himself with future|
|Stranzl to play no further part in Gladbach season|
|Rodgers keen to address lack of goals|
|Giroud cannot fire Arsenal to title - Henry|
|Do not destroy Sterling, says Campbell|
|Fournier: Lyon still dreaming|
|United performance Stones´ best - Martinez|
|Carver: Abuse from fans unacceptable|
|No shame in second place - Pellegrini|
|Humble Hazard thrilled with PFA honour|
|La Liga Preview: Real continue Barca pursuit against Almeria|
|Serie A Preview: Roma eye much-needed win|
|MLS Review: Toronto end drought, Red Bulls stay unbeaten|
|Chelsea to face Sydney in June|
|Liverpool can attract players - Rodgers|
|Bayern celebrate three-peat|
|Hernandez form forces Ancelotti´s hand|
|Hazard crowned PFA Players´ Player of the Year|
|Weidenfeller ruled out of Dortmund-Bayern semi-final|
|Weidenfeller ruled out of Dortmund-Bayern semi-final|
|Ligue 1 Review: Lens´ fate all but sealed, Lyon return top|
|La Liga Review: Hernandez rescues Real, Sevilla up to fourth|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Metz: Injuries prove a frustration for Blanc|
|Serie A Review: Juve made to wait as Parma fight another day|
|Celta Vigo 2 Real Madrid 4: Hernandez to the rescue again|
|Barcelona v Getafe: Iniesta keen to maintain momentum|
|Milan players in ´retreat´|
|United have opened the door for Liverpool - Van Gaal|
|Mourinho hits back at Arsenal fans´ ´boring´ jibes|
|Juve were own worst enemy in derby defeat – Allegri|
|Bundesliga Review: Gladbach victory ends title race|
|Udinese v Inter: Mancini braced for crucial week|
|Primeira Liga Review: O Classico tie leaves Benfica on the brink|
|Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund: Klopp prepares for final Klassiker|
|Russian Premier League Review: Zenit edge closer to glory, Amkar Perm off the bottom|
|Arsenal played with handbrake on - Wenger|
|Mourinho swerves Oscar discussion to hail Terry display|
|Bayern´s title confirmed as Wolfsburg stumble at Gladbach|
|Eredivise Review: Late leveller see Ajax secure Champions League berth|
|Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0: Oscar decision in the spotlight after stalemate|
|Van Gaal bemoans lack of fighting spirit|
|Van Gaal: United to assess Rooney injury|
|Torino 2 Juventus 1: First derby defeat since 1995 puts title celebrations on hold|
|Martinez hails Everton´s ´incredible mentality´ after beating United|
|Everton 3 Manchester United 0: Martinez outwits Van Gaal in comprehensive win|
|Dundee United 0 Celtic 3: Griffiths´ hat-trick edges champions closer to title|
|Alderweireld reveals he has broken shoulder bone|
|Hull City v Liverpool: Lovren expecting another test of patience|
|Leverkusen dealt Papadopoulos blow|
|Five in a row for Champions League winners Auckland|
|Vermaelen cleared to play in Barca run-in|
|Hughes buoyed by Odemwingie return|
|Allardyce hails Adrian heroics|
|Villa confident of staying up - Sherwood|
|Zorc rejects talk of Gundogan departure|
|´Happy´ Hazard rejects talk of Chelsea exit|
|A-League Review: Victory claim Premiers´ Plate|
|Pochettino hoping to strengthen|
|Pjanic critical of Roma spirit|
|Rodgers: No room for error now|
|MLS Review: Revolution win big as Dynamo, Kansas City draw|
|Garcia rues sloppy build-up play|
|Jokanovic eyes title for Watford|
|Blanc: PSG have moved on|
|Hazard worth ´£100m each leg´ - Mourinho|
|Ferguson: United boss can break my trophy record|
|Levante leap clear of La Liga drop zone|
|Primeira Liga Review: Gil Vicente claim vital win, Estoril and Rio Ave held|