ASSE out of Europa League
A 0-0 home draw with Gent, combined with Wolfsburg winning in Ukraine, ensured Saint-Etienne crashed out of the UEFA Europa League.
Thursday, November 28, 2019
UEFA Europa League Group I
AS Saint-Etienne 0-0 KAA Gent
This was Saint-Etienne's fourth consecutive draw in the competition but an 11th game unbeaten in all competitions was not enough for Claude Puel's side, who needed the three points to set up a Matchday 6 blockbuster at Wolfsburg.
Still missing ten players through injury, Les Verts made a decent start and Loïs Diony missed a good chance (7'). Gent needed just a point to ensure they'd advance and the visitors hit the base of Stéphane Ruffier's post with a Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui header (13').
Denis Bouanga has been ASSE's most dangerous player in recent weeks and the right wing-back crashed a remarkable shot against the crossbar (29'). Thomas Kaminski (45+1') saved from Diony on the stroke of half-time but the clear chances were few and far between.
Bouanga (54) tried his luck again and then Saint-Etienne were given a major boost as Ngadeu-Ngadjui was sent off for a second yellow card, bringing down Bouanga in full flight (76'). Puel's side could not make the breakthrough and confirmation of Wolfsburg's win at Olexandriya meant ASSE were out.
THE PLAYER: Denis Bouanga
The Gabonese international has been on fire in recent weeks with six goals for club and country since October 15. The former Nîmes attacker again looked the most likely man in green to make something happen and was desperately unlucky to see his audacious attempt just before the half-hour come back off the crossbar.
THE STAT: 3
Saint-Etienne are without a European win in three years since beating Anderlecht in December 2016.
UEFA Europa League Group E
Already knocked out, Rennes, with only three starters from the team that took to the field at Dijon last weekend, started brightly with Romain Del Castillo looking bright and getting away a shot on target (6'). Celtic soon got on top, however, and Olivier Ntcham brought the best out of Edouard Mendy (18').
Celtic got the goal their enterprising play deserved (21') when Ryan Christie combined well with James Forrest, who set up makeshift centre-forward Lewis Morgan for a precise shot to open the scoring. Ntcham was again thwarted by Mendy (27') but there was nothing the Senegalese international keeper could do when Ryan Christie's left-footed shot from range took a wicked bounce and lodged in the back of the net (45+1').
Rennes nearly pulled one back (57') when Fraser Forster made a blinding double save, first denying Flavien Tait from close range and then somehow diverting Jordan Siebatcheu's follow-up onto the post. Forster was the outstanding player in the second half and saved from Faitout Maouassa and James Lea Siliki (both 65').
Yet Celtic struck again (74') through substitute Mikey Johnston, who played a one-two with Ntcham and then angled a shot across Mendy. Rennes managed only their third Europa League goal of the campaign as sub Adrien Hunou (88') headed home an excellent Maouassa cross from the left.
THE PLAYER: Jordan Siebatcheu
With Mbaye Niang left back in Brittany to rest up ahead of Sunday's game against Saint-Etienne, Siebatcheu was handed his first Rennes start since mid-September. The powerful former Reims forward put himself about and hit a post but ultimately - and unsurprisingly - looked off the match pace.
THE STAT: 1
Rennes have taken only one point from their five Group E matches and that was collected on Matchday 1 in a 1-1 home draw with Celtic.