Veretout saves Les Verts at Dijon
Jordan Veretout scored the only goal of the game as AS Saint-Étienne picked up a welcome win at Dijon FCO on Sunday and left their unfortunate hosts still deep in the relegation battle.
Dijon FCO 0-1 AS Saint-Etienne
Saint-Étienne had never lost a Ligue 1 game to Dijon in three previous meetings, and Christophe Galtier's men set out with the intention of maintaining that record.
Loïc Perrin should have done better than head over when unmarked at a corner (12') while only a timely Adam Lang clearance prevented a dangerous Kévin Monnet-Paquet cross finding Robert Beric in the six-yard box (22').
Les Verts' best effort before the break came from full-back Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel, who was allowed to run from inside his own half before sending a powerful drive goalwards that Baptiste Reynet parried firmly (42').
Dijon will feel they should have gone in at half-time in front however after creating the best chance of the opening 45 minutes - Julio Tavares rose to meet Florent Balmont's angled ball into the box, but saw his header strike the outside of the post with Stéphane Ruffier beaten (25').
Dijon's tempo dropped a little after the break, though Mehdi Abeid did raise pulses with a long-range drive that skidded just wide (61') before Saint-Étienne, who had failed to win in six competitive outings, finally got into their stride.
Ole Selnaes had a shot saved by Baptiste Reynet and in the ensuing scramble Monnet-Paquet was not able to force the loose ball goalwards (76') before Veretout then broke the deadlock.
The former FC Nantes midfielder caught the eye with his shock of peroxide hair as he burst over the halfway line and charged into the box, keeping his feet under the challenge of Jordan Loties to prod into the far corner of Reynet's goal (77').
Dijon might have had the point their bullish performance deserved had Julio Tavares' header in added time found the net, but under pressure from Cheikh Mbengue, the rangy Cape Verdean sent his effort over the bar (90+1').
Dijon remain 17th, out of the relegation zone on goal difference, while Saint-Étienne stay seventh, but they are just two points behind Olympique de Marseille (5th) and Girondins de Bordeaux (6th), both of whom they have still to play in the run-in.
THE PLAYER: Jordan Veretout
Busy in midfield, he proved invaluable in providing a goal his team rarely looked like scoring.
THE STAT: 1000
The win was Saint-Étienne's 1000th in Ligue 1, making them the third club after Olympique de Marseille and Girondins de Bordeaux to reach the milestone.