PARIS, Feb 9 (Reuters) - St Etienne coped better than Montpellier with a frozen pitch and two disruptions to the game due to snow to beat the Ligue 1 champions 4-1 at home on Saturday.
Heavy snowfalls caused a 13-minute delay to the start of the second half as officials and St Etienne substitutes cleaned the lines and painted them red.
Then play was stopped for 32 minutes in the 65th minute with St Etienne leading 3-1.
The home side added a fourth goal, from Mathieu Bodmer, when the game resumed to climb to fourth place in the table on 40 points from 24 games.
St Etienne are two points behind third-placed Olympique Marseille, who occupy a Champions League qualifying spot and visit lowly Evian Thonon Gaillard on Sunday.
Girondins Bordeaux, who play later on Saturday at Ajaccio, and Nice, who host fellow European hopefuls Lorient, can both claim fourth spot. Montpellier stay eighth on 35 points.
St Etienne took the lead after 13 minutes when Brazilian striker Brandao powered the ball home from a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pass following a fine team move.
Aubameyang made it 2-0 with a superb backheeled volley from a Renaud Cohad cross in the 29th minute.
With the two sides struggling with the snow-covered pitch after the restart, Yoann Mollo took advantage of the visitors’ mistakes to give St Etienne a three-goal lead in the 48th, only to see Remy Cabella make it 3-1 a minute after.
Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Stephen Wood