It was the game not to lose and AS Saint-Etienne did the job in the race to stay in Ligue 1. In a sweltering Geoffroy Guichard, the Greens provided the minimum against FC Metz (1-0) on Sunday. Only one goal from Bouanga but with very big consequences in the standings. With 25 points now, Pascal Dupraz’s men are temporarily moving back to 16th place and will not be relegated at the end of this 27th match day, regardless of the result between Bordeaux and Troyes, played at 3pm.
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Before the meeting, Stéphane’s coach had said that the game and the defeat against PSG on the last day was mainly a hook in the maintenance operation of the Greens. Not to be ashamed of their performance against the Parisians, Bernardoni’s teammates could rely on the positives of this encounter to use the ingredients they needed in this “death” match against Metz. The smiles are on Saint-Etienne’s faces and the community of 35,000 spectators shows that the club can rely on their 12th man in this final sprint, but Saint-Etienne still played with fear.
The club Forez is still in doubt and despite the regained confidence since the arrival of trainer Dupraz, it was not far from disaster a few minutes before the end. The Greens dominated head and shoulders, believing in a nightmare scenario with a penalty called for De Préville in the 86th minute, before the referee reversed his decision after a foul on Camara at the start of the action.
A sigh of relief for an entire people, especially the blame for a blatant lack of realism, like Denis Bouanga. The Gabonese winger is certainly the lone goalscorer of this encounter (52nd) and was still the most dangerous attacking weapon, Khazri was on the bench but he fished in the finish to get his team fully sheltered. Wanting to make it too easy for Caillard with a stabbed ball (84th), the former Lorientais almost blamed himself for a long time, the penalty eventually refusing to lie in the continuity of the action. This failure was just the latest in a string of failures for Bouanga. He first saw a first goal disallowed by a voluntary hand in the first period, then hit the post (83rd) before losing another game to the Messin goalkeeper (71st). Without consequences this Sunday, but Saint-Etienne will have to do better offensively in the future to avoid this stomachache at the end of the game.
Metz still harmless
Because vice versa there was clearly nothing from FC Metz. In the stands after his suspension after the match against Lille, Fred Antonetti saw another non-match for his men. But somewhat more comfortable outside with just one defeat in the last seven games, the Messins still put in a harmless performance. It was half an hour before Fatoula (27th) saw a timid shot on target, the first in 210 minutes.
Admittedly, the Messins have been much stronger defensively in a few games and can thank Caillard for keeping them afloat in Forez, but when you’ve only scored two goals since the start of 2022, it’s hard to hope for anything. By bringing Farid Boulaya, technical guarantor for Geoffroy Guichard to N’Doram, much more defensively before the hour, the Garnets are not helping their business. Metz, now 18th, continues his fall in the standings and could finish last in the event of a draw or win for the Girondins de Bordeaux against Troyes.
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