Match Reports

Saint-Étienne promoted to Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Saint-Étienne promoted to Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Match Reports
Publish on 06/02 at 19:49 - G. BOXALL

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Saint-Étienne won in extra time against FC Metz thanks to a goal from Ibrahima Wadji to book their spot in next season's edition of Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Two sides came to Stade Saint-Symphorien under the extreme and special pressure of the promotion / relegation play-off to decide who plays in Ligue 1 Uber Eats next season. Olivier Dall'Oglio's Saint-Étienne away side came into the crunch tie having won the first leg at Stade Geoffroy Guichard (2-1) only three days ago. Meanwhile, Lazlo Bolöni's side had to prepare to throw everything they could at the ASSE defence to try and quickly claw back a goal deficit.

Action-packed first half

The tie began in the worst possible fashion for Les Grenats, as referee Jerome Brisard consulted VAR for a high-studded challenge by Diallo on Appiah and proceeded to send the Metz No.7 off. Yet it was the home side who began in the brighter fashion, as Mikautadze forced Larsonneur into a quick-reflex save. As Les Verts tried to slowly feel their way into the game, Metz looked to hit on the counter-attack despite being a man down. They would grab the opening goal via Lamine Camara after Udol scrambled to pull back a cross from Koffi, the midfielder sliding the ball into an open net (18').

It was a huge moment in the tie, with Metz levelling the aggregate score and raising the roof at Stade Symphorien. It was about to get louder… as Georges Mikautadze's spell-binding run ended with the Georgian being fouled in the box. Brisard gave the spot kick, and Mikautadze would step to emphatically convert the penalty and send the hosts on course to keep their spot in France's elite (25'). Mathieu Udol tried his luck from range, and his curled effort only just skimmed over the bar.

Les Verts had to respond, and after building some pressure they would get a goal through defender Léo Pétrot with a close range volley from a Chambost corner (35'). With the aggregate score level once more (2-2), the tie was poised on a knife edge between the two candidates for Ligue 1 football next season.

Tie on a knife edge

Saint-Étienne would come out for the second half quickly, generating a great chance through Mathieu Cafaro whose header was comfortably saved by Metz keeper Oukidja. Metz would then go through a period of increased pressure, with several consecutive corners and a clear chance for Mathieu Udol, who blasted his strike over the bar. The pattern of play would then settle into one which saw ASSE hold most of the ball, but struggle to create clear-cut chances.

But it wouldn't last for long. Sissokho was fed a perfect ball in-behind Chambost, and the number 9's effort was saved by Oukidja but ran straight into the path of Sainté substitute Maçon who simply finished into an open net. Brisard would be sent to VAR to check for a contact between the striker and the Metz goalkeeper. The referee ruled out the goal in a huge decision as Sissokho was adjudged to have fouled in the build-up (68').

Sissokho would have another huge chance as he profited off a mess-up in the Metz defence, but his chipped ball over Oukidja couldn't find the net or a green shirt. With just 20 minutes to play, there was still everything to play for between the two sides. Les Verts would pile on the pressure in injury time, but they didn't do enough to break the deadlock - which inevitably would require 30 minutes of extra time.

Florian Tardieu would strike from range, but Oukidja managed to snuff out the danger despite spilling the ball at the first attempt. Van Den Kerkhof would then get close for Metz, with a flick sent goalwards, saved by Larssonier. Saint-Étienne finally made the breakthrough through Wadji, who waited in the box for Mbuku's cross and finished low into an open net (117'). It was a goal which saw the 10-time Ligue 1 winners earn promotion back to France's top tier after two seasons in Ligue 2 BKT.