Aubameyang, Cohade earn Les Verts victory
© AFP

Saint-Etienne moved up to sixth in Ligue 1 - at least temporarily - with a comfortable win over Rennes.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the hosts an interval lead and Renaud Cohade's header early in the second half made the points safe.

Rennes' frustration spilled over when striker Mevlut Erding was sent off deep into stoppage time.

After a quiet start to the game, Rennes were first to seriously threaten when Erding released Julien Feret, whose shot was saved by Stephane Ruffier.

But just two minutes later, Saint-Etienne were ahead when Max Gradel surged down the right and crossed for Aubameyang to finish from close range.

Ruffier saved Jonathan Pitroipa's volley and Gradel, after another solo run, saw a powerful shot beaten away by Benoit Costil as half-time arrived with no addition to the score.

It took only three minutes of the second period for the home side to double their lead when Brandao's header set up Cohade to score with a right-footed volley from outside the box.

Ruffier again denied Pitroipa and Costil saved from Aubameyang before Rennes had their best chance to pull a goal back.

Sadio Diallo created the chance, setting up Romain Alessandrini whose superb volley forced a sharp reflex save from Ruffier.

Saint-Etienne could have extended their lead still further with six minutes remaining when Romain Hamouma latched on to Francois Clerc's pass and went past Romain Danze before hammering a shot against the crossbar.

And the night finished on a sour note for Rennes when Erding lunged in on Jean-Pascal Mignot and was rightly shown a red card.