How could the Stéphanois leave their playoff spot at the worst moment?

At the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium,

The north corner of Parc OL took advantage of the famous 42 ‘of Saturday’s match against Nantes (3-2) to deploy an unmistakable banner for the Lyon players: “Save the season, lose to Clermont”. And this to try and bring the Greens to Ligue 2 next week. Except that Clermont (16th) finally came out of the woods even before the match against OL, during the 38th day of L1. On the other hand, in the misfortune of having definitively abandoned their European ambitions on 8 May after the unlikely defeat in Metz (3-2), the OL thus played a bad joke on their close and historical rival.

Because this place outside the red zone (17th or 18th) that AS Saint-Etienne had occupied for two and a half months was jeopardized midway through the final sprint by Olympic Saint-Symphorien’s poor performance. Up to emerge on Saturday, one day from the end, in a catastrophic scenario behind closed doors against Reims (1-2) that could condemn both the Girondins de Bordeaux and Pascal Dupraz’s side, now 19th, to relegation.

Young Saint-Etienne midfielder Lucas Gourna-Douath was prostrate for several minutes on the lawn of a closed-door Cauldron at the final whistle on Saturday. JEFF PACHOUD – AFP

“Stunning Athletic Deficiencies at this Level”

He promptly admitted that he felt “consternation and despair” after this “defeat of too many”, and before trying to save the club next Saturday in Nantes during a new multiplex with suspense, which will see FC Metz (new 18th for difference) networks). The PSG at the Parc des Princes at the same time. “By not taking any points while they contact us, this match against Reims was of paramount importance,” continues the former Toulouse manager. Simple, from its precious success (1-0) on March 6 against Metz, its direct competitor instead of the play-offs, the AXIS took only 6 points out of 30, with spectacular cracks in the second half (from 0-2 to 6-2 in Lorient and 0-2 to 4-2 in Nice on Wednesday).

“Our first half today was good, we could have taken the lead. Then in the second half the same shortcomings always recur, in particular the athletic ones that leave us astonished at this level », the coach from the Alto Savoiardo sharply underlines, before continuing his surprising expertise on the subject.

There are too many players who unfortunately do not have the athletic ability to meet the requirements of Ligue 1. For too many players there is no more fuel in the engine, it is a real problem. There is also the issue of displacement, and it is difficult to change it. “

Good performance in Nantes or Mbappé eight times against Metz?

Do the Saint-Etienne players confirm this surprising analysis? “We saw around the 60th minute tonight that we swallowed some soup [et non la trompette, sic] and that we have not been able to keep the ball rolling, Wahbi Khazri approves. Reims therefore inevitably sent us waves. It will take 20 men to do our best in Nantes and now we have to put our c… ”. A 100% guaranteed formula fights for upkeep that his coach won’t deny, who wrote two of his major career feats on a 38th day of L1, during a Sochaux-ETG (0-3) in 2014 and the essentials Angers-TFC (2-3) of 2016.

Pascal Dupraz celebrates the unexpected retention of TFC, in May 2016 after an epic outcome in Angers (2-3).
Pascal Dupraz celebrates the unexpected retention of TFC, in May 2016 after an epic outcome in Angers (2-3). – Jean-Francois Monier AFP

The Greens will have to achieve a better result in Nantes than FC Metz in Paris, with less than two defeats … with Kylian Mbappé’s eight vaulting in key, the Lorrains counting six goals ahead of Sainté. Who knows ? But how did the AXIS find a way to lose its playoff spot that seemed to catch up, moreover, against a Stade de Reims (12th) with nothing left to play for?

Falaye Sacko’s long injury was costly

“Since December 15 I fumble behind”, already dissolved Pascal Dupraz, to justify this news disaster class of his five-man defense, systematically pierced in the second period, especially by the agility of the promising Hugo Ekitike, who entered the game at half time. Of their four losses in a row (current series at worst), the Greens have conceded 12 goals. How can we seriously imagine scratching points by saving for maintenance by conceding an average of three goals per game?

Scorer on Saturday but once again fragile in the defensive phase, as on the second goal from Reims, Eliaquim Mangala illustrates the evident defects of this ASSE.  JEFF PACHOUD
Scorer on Saturday but once again fragile in the defensive phase, as on the second goal from Reims, Eliaquim Mangala illustrates the evident defects of this ASSE. JEFF PACHOUD – AFP

The long injury of the most convincing winter rookie, Falaye Sacko (who entered the game on Saturday) did not help Ligue 1’s second worst defense, with 76 goals conceded now. Add to this a lack of success, between “controversial situation” with the draw denied to Romain Hamouma due to a light contact on the arm of Predrag Rajkovic (1-2, 72 °) and a free-kick by Wahbi Khazri who flirts with the skylight of the Reims goalkeeper in injury time, and you have more than ever a beautiful composite portrait of a relegated to power.

“We could be in our place”

And as Pascal Dupraz pointed out, this broken dynamic, following the streak of 4 wins in 6 games in the winter, highlights this team’s inability to complete a full match. The intense pressure of the first period on Saturday then gave way to a group completely cut and lost due to the rapid counterattacks of Reims. “We knew there would be more space as the match progressed,” said Stade de Reims captain Yunis Abdelhamid. The more the match went on, the less intense were the matches and the pressure of Saint-Etienne. We knew how to exploit it. “

Like so many others before them. Which prompts Wahbi Khazri to make a lucid observation: “The reality is that after 37 days we are 19. We may be in our place, but we intend to remain mobilized”. Pascal Dupraz, for his part, likes to remember that his players were “dying” when he replaced Claude Puel and Julien Sablé on the bench, with only 12 points on the break at half-time. They haven’t been far from this since Saturday night and this disastrous turn has cost them 18th place.

Leave a Reply