A brace each from Ibrahima Koné and Terem Moffi helped Lorient to a stunning 6-2 come-from-behind victory against Saint-Étienne at the Stade du Moustoir on Friday night.
Lorient and Saint-Étienne kicked off at the Stade du Moustoir with just one point separating both sides and firmly in the dogfight for top-flight survival. Both reeling from heavy defeats last time out at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille respectively, the opportunity arose for one of this season's strugglers to pull themselves further out of the mire.
It was Pascal Dupraz's Saint-Étienne who started the brighter of the teams and as a result, got themselves in front early on.
Denis the menace
Ryad Boudebouz's 20-yard effort was palmed away by the outstretched hand of Lorient 'keeper Matthieu Dreyer before the subsequent cross into the box was headed home by Denis Bouanga from close range (4').
The goal spurred Dupraz's men on who pressed forward for a second and if it wasn't for wasted opportunities from Bouanga and Arnaud Nordin, Les Verts could have extended their advantage.
One minute after Lorient striker Ibrahima Koné had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, Saint-Étienne doubled their lead.
Some lovely footwork followed by a thunderous strike from Nordin beat Dreyer at his near post to put Les Verts firmly in the driving seat (22').
Lorient were not without their chances. Terem Moffi came off second best when he only had Saint-Étienne shot-stopper Paul Bernadoni to beat and shortly after, the unmarked Nigerian striker recklessly fired high and wide from 15 yards with the goal gaping.
Lorient gave themselves a lifeline just before the interval when Moffi fired home from the spot after Timothée Kolodziejczak had upended Lorient right-back Houboulang Mendes (42').
Les Merlus then got themselves on level terms on the stroke of half time when Koné stabbed home Mendes' pinpoint cross (45'), to set up an intriguing second half.
Lorient continued their upturn in performance after the interval and once again breached the Saint-Étienne, completing a remarkable turnaround.
Enzo Le Fée latched onto Armand Laurienté's through ball and the 21-year-old coolly slotted past Bernardoni to put the hosts in front (61').
As much as Lorient were in the ascendancy, Sainté were imploding fast and Koné lashed home his second of the evening after some neat interchange with Moffi to make it 4-2 (65').
The evening went from bad to worse for the visitors when substitute Yvan Neyou - introduced in the 63rd minute - was dismissed five minutes later for a second yellow card, brandished 40 seconds after his first caution.
Lorient were not done yet and Moffi treated himself to a second goal, superbly firing home from just inside the penalty area (87'). In the dying moments, Quentin Boisgard got in on the act, firing high into the net to finish the contest (89').
The result ensured Lorient remain in 16th but widen the gap from the bottom three to a provisional four points ahead of the remaining weekend's fixtures. Saint-Étienne stay in 18th.
THE PLAYER: Ibrahima Koné
The 22-year-old Malian striker has been a hit since arriving in Brittany from Norwegian football in January. Koné added two fine finishes to take his Lorient tally to five goals and could well be the man that helps maintain top flight status for Christophe Pélissier's men.
THE STAT: 39
Saint-Étienne let slip a two-goal lead before half time for the first time in 39 years. The last time it occurred in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, was in May 1983 against Nancy.