Stade Rennais fought off a strong comeback attempt from Evian Thonon Gaillard to reach the French Cup quarter-finals with a 3-2 win on Tuesday.
Rennes were 3-0 up with 20 minutes remaining, before Evian scored two goals in a three-minute span and winger Cedric Barbosa nearly grabbed an equalizer when his effort hit the bar in the 88th minute.
“We’re very happy,” Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti said. “We’re aware of our weaknesses, though. We should have kept that match under control.”
Rennes winger Jires Kembo-Ekoko opened the scoring with a free-kick that took a deflection off the wall in the 20th minute.
Midfielder Julien Feret doubled the lead with a low drive from the edge of the box in the 54th minute, before substitute Yacine Brahimi fired home a long-range strike to make it 3-0 in the 68th.
However, Evian pulled one back two minutes later when Kevin Berigaud converted a penalty after Rennes defender Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik had fouled Nicolas Farina.
Evian winger Sidney Govou then took a pass from Barbosa to find the net in the 72nd minute.
“We had a spell of weakness after our third goal,” Feret said.
“We helped them get back into the match with the penalty. We qualified, but with a scare,” he said.
Rennes have won the French Cup twice and they are in sixth place in the French league, while Evian are just four points above the relegation zone.
“I have a lot of regrets,” Evian coach Pablo Correa said. “Things get very difficult if you need to score four goals to win, especially against one of the best French teams. I can tell you we won’t concede three goals in our next match.”
Yesterday, Olympique Lyonnais were scheduled to host Girondins de Bordeaux, Ligue 1 titleholders LOSC Lille Metropole were visiting Valenciennes, Montpellier Herault were due to face Chateauroux and Gazelec Ajaccio were playing Drancy.
However, three French Cup matches were rescheduled because of frozen pitches following a cold snap.
The French Football Federation postponed Paris Saint-Germain’s match at Dijon FCO on Tuesday and Olympique de Marseille’s game against Bourg-Peronnas yesterday until next Wednesday.
The federation also called off the match between Quevilly and Orleans on Tuesday, setting Feb. 21 as the new date.