Wahbi Khazri’s double earned St Etienne a 2-0 win over struggling Monaco to lift them, at least temporarily, to second place in Ligue 1.
The former Bordeaux and Sunderland man produced instinctive strikes in the 41st and 54th minutes to lift his side above Lyon, Marseille and Lille – the latter pair meet on Sunday, while Lyon host Nantes on Saturday – and leave Monaco 18th with just one win from eight games.
Khazri was denied an early opener when goalkeeper Diego Benaglio’s desperate tackle rescued Andrea Raggi’s poor back-pass, and Remy Cabella’s curling effort then skimmed the Monaco crossbar.
Loic Perrin cleared Moussa Sylla’s effort off the line at the other end and Stephane Ruffier saved from Radamel Falcao before ASSE broke the deadlock when Khazri controlled Ole Selnaes’ long pass, turned and fired past Benaglio.
Ruffier made a superb double save from Adama Traore and Djibril Sidibe before Khazri struck again. Pele’s error allowed Cabella to feed the forward and his quick control and shot from 25 yards took Benaglio by surprise.
Falcao fired against the post but St Etienne could have killed the game off once and for all in the closing stages. Lois Diony and Cabella both missed close-range chances and Benaglio denied the latter a brilliant stoppage-time goal, but the hosts had done enough.