Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Saint-Etienne give Gasset point on swansong

Publish on 24/05/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Arnaud Nordin opened the scoring, but AS Saint-Etienne could not give Jean-Louis Gasset a winning send-off in his final game as coach as they were held 1-1 at Angers SCO on Friday.

 Angers SCO 1-1 AS Saint-Etienne 

The Saint-Etienne squad emerged onto the pitch wearing caps in a tribute to their outgoing boss, but it was Angers, whose coach Stéphane Moulin extended his contract in midweek, who did their manager most proud in the opening minutes.

Jessy Moulin was a surprise choice in the Saint-Etienne goal with the 33-year-old back-up to Stéphane Ruffier making only his 14th Ligue 1 Conforama appearance since joining the club in 1999. But he looked anything but ring rusty as he made an excellent double save from Angelo Fulgini and Flavien Tait (6').

Tait was a constant menace as Angers allowed the visitors, who had not lost to Angers since 1976, to enjoy the majority of possession, but sought to hurt them on the counter-attack.

But Saint-Etienne have individual quality and Romain Hamouma's cute turn and curling shot was a warning shot (11'), while his knockdown then teed up Arnaud Nordin to shoot — had Ismaël Traoré not been in the right place at the right time to block, Ludovic Butelle may well have been beaten (22').

Nordin opener

The Saint-Etienne youngster — his team's recent matchwinner at Monaco — then sent a skidding shot that stretched Butelle (56') before the visitors' top scorer, Wahbi Khazri, blazed wildly wide as he failed to add to his career-best 13 league strikes this term (62').

The Tunisia international's quick thinking sparked his side going in front however. Khazri's quickly taken free-kick gave Hamouma the chance to forage forward down the right, and his cutback allowed Nordin to fire high into the net (64').

Ismaël Traoré wasted a great chance to bring Angers level barely a minute later (65') but the hosts were soon on level terms. Stéphane Bahoken's deep cross was met by Flavien Tait on the volley — his shot hit the base of the near post, but the ball ricocheted off a helpless Moulin and into the net (70').

Saint-Etienne would still have given Gasset a winning send-off but for Butelle, who brilliantly denied Khazri and was also helped out by Mateo Pavlovic's brave block to thwart substitute Charles Abi (76') as the spoils were shared.

THE PLAYER: Jeff Reine-Adelaide
The ex-Arsenal youngster strode around the midfield like he owned it, and stood out even against such an experienced and talented performer as Yann M'Vila. There is more to come from the Under-21 France international.

THE STAT: 1976
Saint-Etienne have not lost to Angers since 23 October, 1976, a run of 17 matches, ten of which they have won.