Auxerre defeated Saint Etienne 2-0 to reach the French League Cup semi-finals. Two converted penalties saw them past their Ligue 1 rivals, edging them closer to securing their first trophy since the French Cup in 2005.
Benoit Pedretti and Polish international Dariusz Dudka successfully converted their respective penalties in the 15th and 48th minutes to give the hosts a spot in the last four. Despite a poor start to the season, the win extends Auxerres' recent unbeaten run to six in all competitions including a UEFA Champions League win over Ajax last week.
"We are in a good way at the moment," said Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez. "The motivation shown by the players compensates for the fatigue they are feeling. Hosting a semi-final would be really nice," added Fernandez, whose side have never won the League Cup trophy.
The result is Saint-Etiennes' third successive defeat. Les Verts have won only once since beating Lyon on 25 September - a League Cup win against Bordeaux.
Pedretti - who won over 20 caps for France - tucked away his penalty after Sylvain Marchal was adjudged to have handled Roy Contout's cross. Dudka converted the second penalty when Contout was upended by Josuah Guilavogui.
Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier said that there was not much to be put right in the side. "We have to refocus on the championship. We have to straighten the rifle's sights but not to panic. We have to stay calm. There is of course the disappointment at being eliminated but there is no illness to remedy."
"We just have to keep on pushing and this moment will pass. We have 18 points in the championship and we were in the League Cup quarter-finals. We are in the middle of a difficult period. But we have to keep a stiff upper lip," said the coach.
Wednesday sees the other three quarter-finals take place with Paris Saint Germain looking to maintain their impressive campaign this season - including a superb 2-1 home win over champions Marseille last Sunday - away at coach Antoine Kombouare's former club Valenciennes.
Marseille, who are the League Cup holders, host Monaco looking to bounce back from the PSG reverse while Montpellier are at home to Lille.