St. Etienne wins laugher against Rennes
LIGUE 1 FIXTURES
|Saturday, March 3|
|Sunday, March 4|
|More: Ligue 1| Standings|Stats|
St Etienne thrashed Rennes 4-0 to move level on points with their opponents in the push for European football.
ASSE leapfrogged Rennes into sixth place, and level with fourth-placed Marseille in the congested table after running riot in the second half.
Jean-Pascal Mignot put them ahead after 25 minutes and after Ludovic Battles doubled the lead eight minutes into the second period, further strikes from Bakary Sako and Max Gradel wrapped up a comfortable win.
St Etienne began brightly with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang threatening early before Sako fired a left-footed shot at goal that went narrowly over.
Rennes had a penalty shout in the 15th minute when the ball struck Aubameyang's arm in the area after a corner, but the referee waved play on.
And St Etienne took full advantage as they took the lead soon after, with Banel Nicolita crossing for Mignot to head beyond the reach of Benoit Costil.
Rennes sought an immediate response but Julien Feret's powerful shot at goal went over from a good position.
Sako nearly got a second before the break when he got up to head Nicolita's cross, but with Costil beaten the ball shaved the outside of the post.
Rennes attacked from the off in the second half, but Stephane Ruffier denied them with a good double save, first from Jires Kembo Ekoko and then Tongo Hamed Doumbia on the follow-up.
The hosts then moved two clear in the 53rd minute when Sako was allowed space on the left to pull back for Battles to blast home.
Aubameyang shaved the post with another chance before Battles' cross picked out Sako, who beat Dimitri Foulquier before blasting a left-footed shot into the net for number three.
Gradel then wrapped it up 11 minutes from time, turning in the rebound after Costil could only push Nicolita's shot back into his path.