St Etienne continue European push
St Etienne kept the pressure on in the battle for Europe in Ligue 1 as they brushed aside rock-bottom Nancy 3-0 to take all the points from a lively encounter that saw both sides finish with 10 men.
Brandao's opener and a brace by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a routine victory for St Etienne, who have now won five and drawn two of their last seven games and remain beaten away from home in the league in 2013.
The visitors' night was marred by the second-half dismissal of Fabian Lemoine, while Nancy also ended a man light after substitute Florent Zitte was sent off just minutes into his Ligue 1 debut.
The win puts St Etienne fifth, just two points behind third-placed Marseille who are preparing for Sunday's tough trip to face leaders Paris St Germain.
Montpellier moved up to sixth with a 1-0 win away to Evian, with Younes Belhanda scoring 10 minutes from time in a smash-and-grab raid on their relegation-battling hosts.
Lille continued their upturn in form as they comfortably saw off Ajaccio with a 3-1 win in Corsica despite playing for the final half-hour with 10 men.
Yohann Poulard's own goal, six minutes before half-time, put them ahead and although Lucas Digne saw red in the 61st minute, a double from Dmitri Payet wrapped it up before Chakhir Belghazouani's late consolation for the hosts.
It was a third straight win for Lille as they bid to remain in the discussion for a European place at the season's end.
On-loan midfielder Jean Makoun scored late on to rescue a share of the spoils for Rennes and deny Sochaux a second upset victory in two weeks as the sides drew 2-2.
Goals from Giovanni Sio and Sebastien Corchia in between John Boye's leveller for Rennes appeared to put the visitors in contention to follow up last weekend's 3-2 win over leaders Paris St Germain with another success.
But Makoun profited from a goalmouth scramble to poke home in the 87th minute and ensure the spoils were shared.