Saint-Etienne downs Nancy 3-0 in French league
PARIS (AP) — Saint-Etienne kept pace with fourth-place Nice in the race for a European spot by routing bottom side Nancy 3-0 in the French league on Saturday.
Striker Brandao gave Saint-Etienne the lead in the 17th minute before forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it 2-0 in the 40th.
Both teams were down to 10 men in the second half. Saint-Etienne midfielder Fabien Lemoine was sent off in the 64th for a foul on Vincent Muratori and Nancy forward Florent Zitte was ejected for a tackle on Jonathan Brison in the 77th.
Aubameyang put the result beyond doubt by notching his 14th goal in the 89th.
"We were efficient. We converted our chances. That's how we made the match easy for us," Saint-Etienne defender Francois Clerc said. "We know that if we want to finish in the top spots, we'll have to be consistent and rack up a lot of points."
Saint-Etienne has the best record in the league since the winter break with five wins and two draws. It sits in fifth place just one point behind Nice, which beat Reims 2-0 on Friday.
Also, it was: Rennes 2, Sochaux 2; Evian 0, Montpellier 1; Ajaccio 1, Lille 3; Valenciennes 0, Toulouse 0; and Troyes 0, Bastia 0.
Rennes lost ground in the race for a European spot and trails Nice by four points.
Riding the momentum of its 3-2 win over leader Paris Saint-Germain last weekend, Sochaux opened the scoring in the 21st minute when striker Giovanni Sio slid home a low cross from Cedric Bakambu. Rennes defender John Boye headed in a free kick from Julien Feret to level in the 34th.
But the visitors recaptured the lead with a wonder goal from Sebastien Corchia in the 56th, as the Sochaux full-back cut inside to fire a curling shot into the top corner. Jean Makoun salvaged a point for Rennes with a low strike from close range in the 88th.