Saint-Etienne stroll into League Cup quarters
Saint-Etienne kept their French League Cup hopes alive with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ligue 1 rivals Sochaux, while there were also wins for Rennes and Troyes on Tuesday.
Summer signing Romain Hamouma struck twice and substitute Alejandro Alonso added a late third to help Les Verts become the first team to clinch their spot in the last eight of the competition.
Saint-Etienne have been one of only two teams Sochaux have beaten in Ligue 1 this season - a 1-0 away win on September - but Christophe Galtier's side demonstrated the form that has seen them climb to fifth in the league, brushing aside their opponents with relative ease.
Hamouma arrowed a low 25-yard strike past Pierrick Cros in the tenth minute to give the visitors the lead. Cros was forced off through injury midway through the first half, but his replacement Simon Pouplin was helpless to stop Hamouma adding a second on 67 minutes.
The former Caen man latched on to Fabien Lemoine's delightful through ball, coolly slotting past Pouplin at his near post for his fifth goal in Saint-Etienne colours.
Alonso compounded Sochaux's misery a minute from time when his close-range effort took a wicked deflection off defender David Saguet and spun past a helpless Pouplin as Saint-Etienne extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven matches.
Rennes, Lille, Troyes prosper
Elsewhere, Romain Alessandrini helped fill the void left by the suspended Mevlut Erding, as his 18th-minute strike guided Rennes past second-tier Arles-Avignon in Brittany.
Yann Mvila also made his first appearance for Rennes since the club ended his ten-day exile for breaking curfew while on France U-21 duty, coming on as a second-half substitute for Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik.
Top-flight strugglers Troyes cemented their place in the quarter-finals after coming from a goal behind to oust Ligue 2 leaders Monaco. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco's first-half penalty put Claudio Ranieri's men in front, but Brazilian defender Rincon equalised for Troyes on 65 minutes.
Quentin Othon then grabbed the winning goal eight minutes from time as Troyes held on for victory despite Mohamed Yattara's late dismissal.
It took a Nolan Roux strike deep into extra time to guarantee Lille's progression as plucky Toulouse suffered a 1-0 defeat.
Toulouse had goalkeeper Oliver Blondel to thank as Rudi Garcia's men dominated proceedings throughout, Salomon Kalou and Marvin Martin proving particularly dangerous.
But the visitors' resolve was finally broken when Steeve Yago saw red four minutes from normal time and Blondel saw Roux's shot creep past him in the 117th minute.
The three-time Ligue 1 champions have surprisingly never reached the final of the competition.