Rémy Cabella had a crucial late penalty saved as Girondins de Bordeaux ended AS Saint-Etienne's unbeaten run on Sunday with a 3-1 victory at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
AS Saint-Etienne 1 - 3 Girondins de Bordeaux
Les Verts had put themselves into pole position to qualify for Europe on a 13-game unbeaten run before this meeting with a Bordeaux side still in with an outside chance of making the Europa League too. The afternoon started well for the hosts, with Cabella putting them ahead from the penalty spot after Robert Beric had been brought down in the box by Pablo (28').
However, Bordeaux's response was swift, as they came back to lead before half-time. First, Youssouf Sabaly crossed for the unmarked Younousse Sankharé to head in at the near post and score his seventh Ligue 1 Conforama goal of the season (29'). Then Pablo headed down a Malcom corner for his fellow centre-back Jules Koundé to volley home from close range and make it 2-1 (36').
The visitors actually should have been further ahead at the break, with Malcom failing to find the target from another Sabaly cross when it seemed easier to score (38'), before Martin Braithwaite headed just wide from a Lukas Lerager cross (41').
Sainté then pushed for an equaliser after the restart, but the second half only really came to life in the closing stages. Substitute Jonathan Bamba turned and sent a shot off the far post from the edge of the area (84'), and Mathieu Debuchy headed off the bar soon after.
Malcom long-ranger seals it
As Bordeaux tried to clear their lines following the latter attempt, the hosts won a penalty awarded for a handball by Igor Lewczuk. Cabella stepped up again, but this time Benoît Costil went the right way and saved his spot-kick (89').
Malcom then made sure of the points in the fifth minute of added time with a fine hit from long range, his 10th Ligue 1 Conforama goal of the season and the eighth goal he has scored from outside the box since the start of last season, more than any other player.
This was Bordeaux's fourth win in five games and their reward for ending Saint-Etienne's long unbeaten streak is that they remain just about in European contention with two games to go. Saint-Etienne remain better-placed despite this setback, their first home defeat in 2018.
THE PLAYER: Rémy Cabella
An afternoon of mixed fortunes for Cabella, with the on-loan Olympique de Marseille man putting his side ahead from the spot but then missing his second penalty late on. Had he scored it, Saint-Etienne surely would have extended their unbeaten run to 14 games.
THE STAT: 13
Costil has now saved 13 penalties in Ligue 1 since the start of the 2011-12 season, at least five more than any other goalkeeper in that time. And his save from Cabella's spot-kick here means Saint-Etienne's unbeaten run ends at 13 games.