One goal was enough for Saint-Étienne to progress to the quarter finals of the Coupe de France as they overcame an uninspired Monaco side at Stade Louis II.
Monaco set their stall out early in the clash, dominating the ball but failing to ask any pressing questions of the visitors – their much changed side failing to click in attack.
Any attacking impetus they did demonstrate was nullified by an assured Saint-Étienne defence led by the young partnership of Wesley Fofana and William Saliba, who made his eagerly anticipated return after an extended lay-off.
For all Monaco’s possession, Saint-Étienne appeared most likely to score – enjoying a series of dangerous counter attacks when they did turn over possession from the hosts.
The best opportunity for Monaco to gain a foothold back in the game arose when Fofana himself nearly sliced a cross into his own net, with the home team otherwise creating limited chances.
Les Verts took the lead in the tie in the 24th minute, Bouanga meeting a back post cross with a fine finish to secure his first goal since returning from a significant lay-off.
The second half followed the pattern of the first – Monaco controlling possession but unable to generate any high quality chances, whilst Saint-Étienne remained a constant threat on the break.
With the tie slipping away, Monaco turned to experience to try and gain a footing in the match.
Cesc Fàbregas and Stevan Jovetić were brought on from the bench but were unable to make any real impact on the match, with Jovetić limited to just one effort from range.
Saint-Étienne looked most likely to score the second of the game, with Bouanga uncharacteristically fluffing a golden chance to double his side’s lead late on as they held on to progress in the tournament.
This was the third home defeat on the bounce for Robert Moreno’s side, who appear devoid of creative endeavour at present.
The win was the second within a week for Saint-Étienne and Claude Puel will be hoping it marks the changing of the tide on what has been a lethargic season so far.