Ça, it’s a comeback. Saint-Étienne believed the deal was in the bag Friday night against Lorient with his two goals in the half hour of play. Then the tide turned, and the Hakes made short work of the Greens. Lorient has indeed taken an option on the maintenance by going up 2 goals behind to crush Saint-Étienne 6-2 in the opening match of the 31e Ligue 1 day.
Picked up cold by goals from Denis Bouanga and Arnaud Nordin, Les Merlus responded with braces from Ibrahima Koné and Terem Moffi and goals from Enzo Le Fée and Quentin Boisgard. With this painful setback, the Greens remain roadblockers (27 points), while the Hakes are 4 lengths ahead of them and 8 over Bordeaux and Metz (23 points), the two relegation players, who are to face each other on Sunday.
The Greens quickly cast a chill over the Moustoir: on a cross from Timothée Kolodziejczak, captain in the absence of Wahbi Kazri, Bouanga opened the scoring with a header at 2e pole (0-1, 4e). And Pascal Dupraz’s men continued to press to drive the point home through Arnaud Nordin, who slipped into the area to find a tight angle (0-2, 22e).
The Greens took on water in 2e period
Opposite, the Hakes may have felt cursed for a while, with a goal from Koné canceled for a questionable offside, two splendid saves from Paul Bernardoni on free kicks from Armand Laurienté (9e35e) or two net missed opportunities for Moffi (25e30e).
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But the efforts of Christophe Pélissier’s men paid off at the end of the first period, first on a penalty obtained by Houboulang Mendes and converted by Moffi (1-2, 41e), then when Koné pushed with his toe a cross from Mendes (2-2, 45e). Starting again at a pace more chopped up by faults, the match was decided at the hour of play: ideally launched by Laurienté, Le Fée, the child of the country, tumbled alone on the right to give the advantage to his (3-2, 61e). Then Koné did it again (4-2, 65e) and the Greens have definitely taken to the water, like Yvan Neyou, missing since December, who came into play in the 62e and excluded from the 68e after taking two yellow cards in one minute. Enough to launch the ola among the more than 15,400 spectators, especially as the festival continued with Moffi (5-2, 86e) and Boisgard (6-2, 89e).