Defending champions Bordeaux slumped to a shock first loss of the season when Saint-Etienne handed Laurent Blanc's weary side a 3-1 defeat. Missing their influential midfielder Yoann Gourcuff, who suffered a thigh injury in the midweek 1-0 UEFA Champions League win over Maccabi Haifa, it was Bordeaux's first defeat since a 3-0 reverse against Toulouse on 7 March.
Blanc, desperate to keep his key players fresh for the domestic and European campaigns, also left Morocco striker Maroune Chamakh and Brazilian midfielder Wendel on the bench. Saint-Etienne, buoyed by a 2-1 win at Monaco last weekend that lifted them into mid-table, were ahead after just eight minutes with a headed goal from Augusto Fernandez.
Araujo Ilan made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark, with Bordeaux's Brazilian import Jussie pulling a goal back from the penalty spot in the second half. But Saint-Etienne wrapped up the three points in stoppage time when Dimitri Payet unleashed a 35-metre screamer. Bordeaux land second in the table on 19 points, after Lyon beat Lens 2-0 to claim top spot.
"You are never happy when you lose," said Blanc. "We're disappointed with the result and our first-half performance.
"Saint-Etienne deserved to win, mostly because of their first-half."
Grenoble still pointless
Montpellier are third after a 3-2 win at rock-bottom Grenoble, who have lost all of their eight league matches. Victor Montano and Nenad Dzodic gave Montpellier a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes, before Daniel Ljuboja reduced the deficit early in the second half.
Dzodic extended Montpellier's lead in the 49th minute with Nicolas Dieuze's injury-time strike coming too late to halt Grenoble's miserable run, a league record for successive defeats.
"We need to put an end to this negative spiral," said Grenoble captain Laurent Batlles. "We'll get out of this. With a few points, we are capable of doing good things, but at the moment it's hard to take."
Another for PSG
Paris Saint-Germain are fifth, six points behind Bordeaux, after a 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes against Nancy. Youssouf Hadji put Nancy into a 13th minute lead before Stephane Sessegnon levelled five minutes later.
The result meant PSG, who harbour hopes of the title, have now collected three points in their last four league games.