Late winner sends Monaco clear at top of Ligue 1
Monaco's midfielder Lucas Ocampos (C) celebrates a goal with teammates Marcel Tisserand (L) and Radamel Falcao (R) during their French L1 football match against Saint Etienne on October 5, 2013 at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco
Substitute Ocampos was the hero for Claudio Ranieri's Cote d'Azur outfit, when he latched onto a low cross from the right and pounced inside a crowded penalty box to shoot past Stephane Rufier with just three minutes remaining.
The win keeps Monaco unbeaten with six victories from nine matches and lifts them three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain who travel to arch rivals Marseille on Sunday.
"We're very happy, we played well, created chances against a very strong Saint-Etienne team," said Monaco captain Eric Abidal.
"We had to find a way to open up the match which we did by changing the system and it came down to mental strength at the end. Everyone's happy," continued the French defender.
Belgian international Yannick Ferreira Carrasco gave the Ligue 2 champions the lead after 15 minutes with a cool finish after a 30 metre pass from James Rodriguez put him behind the back four before the visitors equalised just inside the second half.
Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier could be heard blasting his players at half-time and his motivational talk initially did the trick.
A good move down the left wing allowed Renaud Cohade to feed fellow Frenchman Romain Hamouma with a long pass which the 26-year-old midfielder controlled perfectly, before sliding the ball past Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Saint-Etienne had a golden chance to take the lead in the dying moments when Ivory Coast and former Leeds winger Max Gradel was alone through on goal but Subasic came to their rescue with a fine stop from close range.
The match appeared heading for a draw before the Ocampos winner lifted home fans and kept the pressure on Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, the latter side being four points back ahead of the Velodrome showdown.