AS Saint-Etienne kept their Coupe de la Ligue hopes alive with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ligue 1 rivals Sochaux-Montbeliard, while there were also wins for LOSC Lille Metropole, Stade Rennais and ES Troyes AC 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 in September — but Christophe Galtier’s side demonstrated the form that has seen them climb to fifth in the league standing, brushing aside their opponents with relative ease.
Hamouma arrowed a low long-range strike past Pierrick Cros in the 10th minute to give the visitors the lead.
Cros was forced off through injury midway through the first half, but replacement goalkeeper Simon Pouplin was helpless to stop Hamouma adding a second on 67 minutes.
The former Stade Malherbe 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 colors.
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.
Elsewhere, a goal in extra-time by Nolan Roux proved the difference as Lille beat Toulouse 1-0 to give the hosts a much-needed boost in what has been a difficult season so far.
There was also only one goal in another clash, as Romain Alessandrini helped fill the void left by the suspended Mevlut Erding — his 18th-minute strike guiding Rennes past second-tier AC Arles-Avignon in Brittany.
Yann Mvila also made his first appearance for Rennes since the club ended his 10-day exile for breaking a curfew while on France under-21 international 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 AS Monaco.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco’s first-half penalty put Claudio Ranieri’s men in front, but Brazilian defender Rincon equalized for Troyes on 65 minutes.
Quentin Othon then grabbed the winning goal eight minutes from time as Troyes held on for the victory, despite Mohamed Yattara’s late dismissal.