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By ESPN Staff

Rennes, Nantes through to French semis

PARIS, April 12 (Reuters) - Stade Rennes and Nantes overcame challenges from lower division teams to win their French Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Ligue 2 club Montpellier's Jerome Lafourcade hit a hat-trick but still finished on the losing side as Rennes won 5-3 after a thrilling six-goal extra time.

Nantes beat part-timers Calais 1-0 in a repeat of the 2000 final, also won by the Canaries, after an 88th-minute goal from Frederic Da Rocha.

At Rennes, the home side's captain Olivier Monterrubio struck twice in an extra period in which six goals were packed into 14 minutes. The score after 90 minutes was 1-1.

Rennes, third in Ligue 1, and Nantes, who won the Cup for the third time in 2000, go into Thursday's semi-final draw with Olympique Marseille and Paris St Germain, who won on Tuesday.

Jimmy Briand put Rennes in front after only two minutes but Lafourcade equalised nine minutes later although the crowd had to wait until the 97th minute for the next goal, Monterrubio's first that sparked the extra-time fireworks.

Monterrubio struck again in the 102nd minute to put Rennes 3-1 up, Lafourcade replied in the 103rd but John Utaka, who has netted 10 times in Ligue 1 this season, restored the home side's two-goal lead a minute later from his captain's cross.

Kim Kaellstrom put Rennes further ahead in the 109th minute before Lafourcade completed his hat-trick in the 111th.

Rennes lost two central defenders to injury just past the hour, first John Mensah and three minutes later his substitute Jacques Faty.

Coach Laszlo Boloni said: 'I'd rather have seen a less beautiful spectacle, not conceded three goals and, above all, not had any injuries.'