Saint Etienne didn’t need this type of controversy, indeed all they needed to do was keep their heads, but against Montpellier at the weekend it went all wrong.
The club had been in such great form coming into this game winning their last 4 matches in a row and had put real pressure on Lyon in 3rd place for that final Champions League position. Indeed the Verts as they are known entered the game which was played on Friday night just 1 point behind Lyon. Playing at home they were expected to win given that they have the third best home record in the league but Montpellier were not reading the script.
In the end it took one goal, scored by Gaetan Laborde to settle matters and Saint Etienne lost the game and ended up losing their minds, borne out of frustration of course.
The game had no less than 7 yellow cards and 2 reds. First to go was Daniel Congre from Montpellier who received his marching orders on the 53rd minute for roughing. This seemed to play into Saint Etienne’s hands and yet roughly 10 minutes later they themselves would be down to 10 players and it wasn’t just any player seeing red by Remy Cabella, who has shone recently for the club and really stepped up. Well at the weekend he stepped down and took an early shower to go with it.
Two minutes later Laborde scored just to rub salt in the wounds, and for Saint Etienne they dominated every statistic but the one that counted and lost the game.
Saint Etienne’s coach Jean-Louis Gasset believes the game should have ended in a draw he said: ”Given how we ended the game, with all these balls passing in front of Montpellier’s goal, a draw would’ve been fair. We weren’t focused enough after Montpellier went down to 10 men. We rushed things trying to score immediately. Montpellier scored at a fateful moment. We gave everything, we had chances, but we lacked a cutting edge. We missed the chance to confirm our Europa League place, but we have two games left.”
Lyon played on Sunday and beat Marseille 3-0 which means that they have pulled 4 points clear from 4th with just 2 games remaining and look like the massive favourites now to go on and get 3rd.
As for Saint Etienne they now have Montpellier in their rear view mirror for 4th, although there is a four point gap and Saint Etienne’s consolation looks like a Europa League place.
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