Bordeaux open door in race for fifth
Girondins de Bordeaux were twice pegged back by AS Saint-Etienne in a 2-2 draw on Friday that leaves their hold on fifth place vulnerable.
AS Saint-Etienne 2-2 Girondins de Bordeaux
With Olympique de Marseille maintaining pressure on them in the race for a top-five place and lurking just a point behind at kick-off, Bordeaux knew victory at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard was all but imperative.
The fact Les Verts had lost just one of their previous ten home matches in Ligue 1 made the equation all the more difficult.
Romain Hamouma attempted to make it trickier still, first having a shot blocked (18') before supplying a cross that led to Robert Beric firing just wide of Cédric Carrasso's goal (36').
Adam Ounas provided Bordeaux's first major threat, exhilaratingly bursting past Habib Maïga only to find Stéphane Ruffier equal to his curling shot, even if the Saint-Etienne 'keeper only managed to keep out the effort with a foot (38').
The home number one was beaten shortly afterwards though as Bordeaux went ahead. Maïga was involved again, this time bringing down Igor Lewczuk after a Youssouf Sabaly cross had fallen for the Poland international — Ounas sent Ruffier the wrong way from the spot (42').
Having worked so hard to get themselves in front, Bordeaux were only able to remain there for three minutes. Kevin Monnet-Paquet found Hamouma, who deftly flicked into the path of Beric — the Slovenia international bent in a second goal in three league games to ruin the visitors' hopes of a fifth successive clean sheet (45').
Beric teed up Jordan Veretout for a shot that Carrasso beat away almost immediately after the restart (46') before Gaëtan Laborde put Bordeaux ahead a second time: Ounas' cross, Jaroslav Plasil's touch to the back post, Laborde sending the ball over the line from close range for his sixth league strike of the campaign (50').
Les Girondins' lead may have lasted even less time than their first had Carrasso not managed to get a hand to a Monnet-Paquet drive and divert it onto the crossbar (51').
He very nearly kept out Vincent Pajot's equaliser, which came from a corner touched back into his path by Maïga. The former Stade Rennais FC man's point-blank effort was pushed away by Carrasso, but goalline technology indicated the whole of the ball had crossed the line (65') before Bordeaux's Nicolas Pallois let his frustration get the better of him in added time, leading to a late challenge that earned him a red card (90').
The draw means Olympique Lyonnais will be certain of finishing fourth if they win at home to FC Nantes on Sunday, while Marseille can reclaim fifth place - and the guarantee of UEFA Europa League football that goes with it - from Bordeaux with a victory at home to OGC Nice later in the day.
THE PLAYER: Cédric Carrasso
The France internatonal may be behind Ruffier in the pecking order at international level, but he was given the opportunity to outshine his rival with a sure-handed display that ensured his team's trip was not for nothing.
THE STAT: 9
Nine of the last 13 matches between the pair in Saint-Etienne have now ended in a draw.