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.
|26||M. Bayal Sall|
|7||D. Payet||21' 67'|
|Coach: C. Galtier|
for B. Sako 73'
for L. Perrin 76'
for D. Payet 87'
|Pedro reveals Barcelona talks|
|De Bruyne: I have no problem with Mourinho|
|Casillas: I have not retired from Spain duty|
|Raul backs under-fire Ronaldo for Ballon d´Or glory|
|Mourinho and United must lower expectations - Xavi|
|Hands off! Milan CEO insists Donnarumma will stay|
|Glory coach Lowe accepts ban|
|Scolari extends contract with Guangzhou Evergrande|
|Guardiola eliminated City doubts - De Bruyne|
|Klopp lauds Ings for ´perfect´ response|
|Wenger: Perez needs to take chance|
|Boys to men: Mourinho challenges United players|
|Kompany committed to bargain with City medics|
|´Insipid´ Hazard overlooked for Ballon d´Or|
|Griezmann named best in LaLiga as big three share awards|
|Hargreaves puzzled by Mkhitaryan omission|
|Ballon d´Or breakdown: LaLiga, Premier League dominant amid French renaissance|
|Struggling Inter hit with Medel ban|
|Messi, Ronaldo and the full 30-man Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Suarez, Vardy complete Ballon d´Or nominations|
|Neymar joins fellow heavyweights on Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Neymar joins fellow heavyweights on Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Messi, Modric nominated for Ballon d´Or|
|Liverpool strong out of Europe, says Pochettino|
|Giroud to make Arsenal return - Wenger|
|Giggs hits out at ´laughing´ United players following Chelsea battering|
|Schmidt given two-match ban after Nagelsmann slur|
|Wenger: 82 points could win the Premier League|
|´Chelsea won´t sell to Barca or Bayern´ - Gladbach optimistic over Christensen|
|Wenger contract not a priority for Arsenal|
|Wenger says sorry for making Arsenal fans suffer|
|Sissoko charged by FA for Arter elbow|
|Liverpool not even close to 100 per cent - Klopp|
|Messi, Neymar and Suarez given three-day break by Barcelona|
|´Arsenal can compete on wages´ - Gazidis quizzed on Ozil and Sanchez|
|Ibrahimovic and Lewandowski nominated for Ballon d´Or|
|What You Might Have Missed: Benfica record, a Plea from Balo and Reto Ziegler´s better than Ronaldo|
|Montella warns AC Milan stars: Don´t let first-place prize trap you|
|Zorc ´tired of b*******´ on Tuchel, Aubameyang|
|West Ham defenders must outsmart Costa, says Ogbonna|
|We did not offer ¥1billion for Nagatomo, insist Jiangsu|
|De Bruyne, Griezmann join Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Ronaldo isn´t anxious, insists Marcelo|
|Renato Sanches wins Golden Boy award for 2016|
|´I don´t know if I will be here on Wednesday´ – De Boer unsure on future amid sack speculation|
|Ronaldo, Bale among first nominees for Ballon d´Or|
|Wenger: Arsenal showed progress with Middlesbrough draw|
|Thiago Silva wants to extend PSG stay|
|Inaki Williams dismisses Liverpool rumours|
|Coutinho does ´amazing things´ - Matip|
|Wilshere happy to be out of Arsenal comfort zone at Bournemouth|
|Lloris is Premier League´s best goalkeeper - Dier|
|Revolution striker Kamara given yellow card for twerking|
|Klopp rubbishes ´defensive problem´ claims|
|Madrid tracking Dortmund boss Tuchel, claims Watzke|
|MLS Review: Dallas win Supporters´ Shield, Sporting KC sneak into play-offs|
|Ronaldo has ´addiction for goals´ - Morata|
|Emery refuses to point the finger at Di Maria after Marseille draw|
|Zidane vows to play Morata more often|
|Garcia hails Marseille team spirit after PSG draw|
|Neville urges calm at United after Mourinho´s horror Chelsea reunion|
|Zamalek 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 0 (1-3 agg): South Africans clinch first CAF Champions League title|
|Paris Saint-Germain 0 Marseille 0: Champions thwarted in Garcia´s first game|
|Real Madrid 2 Athletic Bilbao 1: Morata to the rescue|
|Bailly sustains knee ligament injury|
|Simeone frustrated by Atletico´s finishing|
|Conte encouraged crowd as Chelsea deserved it|
|Chelsea thrashing painful for Mata and United|
|Chelsea ´dominant from first minute to last´ - Cahill|
|Mourinho blames ´incredible defensive mistakes´ for United loss|
|N´Zonzi cools talk of title challenge|
|Chelsea 4 Manchester United 0: Rampant Blues humble returning Mourinho|
|De Boer: Inter ´played with fear´ in first half|
|Juventus confirm Dybala thigh injury|
|Guardiola vows to fix Manchester City concerns|
|Sevilla 1 Atletico Madrid 0: N´Zonzi strikes to end Simeone´s unbeaten start|
|Bayern set to open Robben, Ribery renewal talks|
|Puel satisfied with City draw|
|Rangers 0 Celtic 1: Late Dembele strike settles Old Firm semi-final|
|Croatian player teased for being ´too smart for football´|
|Redmond expected City to give up chances|
|Feyenoord 1 Ajax 1: Kuyt cancels out Dolberg opener|
|Atalanta 2 Inter 1: Late penalty heaps pressure on De Boer|
|Voller defends Schmidt over touchline dismissal|
|Injured Rooney left out of United squad for Chelsea trip|
|Manchester City 1 Southampton 1: Guardiola´s men back on top but winless run continues|
|Guangzhou Evergrande clinch record sixth straight Super League title|
|´Icon´ Rooney not finished at United - Pereira|
|Zubizarreta-Garcia meeting confirmed by Marseille president|
|Aspas-inspired Celta thrash Deportivo in Galician derby|
|Lorient dismiss coach Ripoll|
|Ronaldo´s impact on football is myth-like - Perez|
|United not distracted by Mourinho´s Chelsea return - Young|
|A-League Review: 20,000th goal helps Newcastle Jets to shock comeback|
|Cech laments Arsenal´s lack of composure|
|Qatar World Cup worker dies at stadium site|
|Galliani wanted Montella at Milan in 2014|
|Mourinho hopes never to return to Chelsea|
|Barzagli angry with AC Milan defeat|
|Iniesta admits ´it could have been worse´ after Barcelona confirm 6-8 week absence|
|Mourinho: I´ll never sell Rooney|
|Ancelotti admits to bowing to Ronaldo demands|
|Ancelotti doubts Conte´s Chelsea can win Premier League|
|Romagnoli happy at Milan amid Chelsea links|
|City must not change their style - Gundogan|
|Conte wants to emulate Mourinho|
|Montella: Rising Milan must handle new expectations|
|Rummenigge dispels Alaba-Manchester City reports|
|Success the key to building connection with fans - Mourinho|
|Gundogan hails ´amazing´ duo Guardiola and Klopp|
|AC Milan players influenced ref for disallowed goal, fumes Allegri|
|Allardyce incident a tragedy, says FA chief executive Glenn|
|Locatelli can´t comprehend beating Buffon|