Saint-Etienne hold Wolfsburg to keep Euro hopes alive
Timothée Kolodziejczak and William exchanged goals as AS Saint-Etienne and VfL Wolfsburg drew 1-1, leaving Les Verts needing to beat FC Olexandriya in their final UEFA Europa League Group I game.
Thursday, October 3, 2019
UEFA Europa League Group I, Matchday 2
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne
AS Saint-Etienne 1-1 VfL Wolfsburg
Saint-Etienne coach Ghislain Printant said his side were "obligated to win" against visiting Wolfsburg following their Matchday 1 loss to KAA Gent, and Les Verts could barely have got off to a better start with Kolodziejczak's cross-cum-shot after Pavao Pervan's parry eluding everyone, including the Germans' goalkeeper, for 1-0 (15'). Sainté joy was short-lived, though, with William restoring parity minutes later, heading home Maximilian Arnold's cross at the far post (15'). Wahbi Khazri saw a free-kick comfortably captured (21') before his slick through-ball for Arnaud Nordin ultimately came to nothing with the youngster offside (22'). Former Montpellier Hérault SC left-back Jérôme Roussillon hit the woodwork at the other end (27') and the sides went in for half-time with the scores at 1-1.
Les Verts frustrated
Khazri had another chance from a set piece soon after the restart. He struck his effort much more convincingly than he had done with his first-half free-kick, his low fizzing shot flying just the wrong side of Pervan's post (49'). Printant sent Harold Moukoudi and Denis Bouanga on for Mathieu Debuchy (60') and Robert Beric (65') once the hour mark had passed, and the fresh legs seemed to help ASSE's cause. Nordin did well to stay onside the next time he was played through but his low cross failed to find a teammate in green (71'). Bounga then drew a corner after breaching the Wolfsburg defence on the opposite flank, but the resulting delivery was ultimately saved on the line by Pervan (75'). Khazri then went down in the box under duress from former Toulouse FC man Marcel Tisserand but his penalty claim was waved away by English referee Craig Pawson (76'). Arnold had a late free-kick punched away by Pervan's opposite number Jessy Moulin (87') and it ended 1-1.
CAMAVINGA STARS BUT RENNES PEGGED BACK BY LAZIO
Eduardo Camavinga put in a superlative performance for Stade Rennais FC at SS Lazio, but the Bretons were beaten 2-1 with Jérémy Morel's header cancelled out by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile.
UEFA Europa League Group E, Matchday 2
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
SS Lazio 2-1 Stade Rennais FC
Rennes travelled to Rome with Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi describing their UEFA Europa League Group E clash as a "cup final," his side's 2-1 loss to CFR Cluj on Matchday 1 adding to the hosts' pressure to get a result. It was Rennes - who drew 1-1 with Celtic FC last month - who started the brighter of the two sides, though, with Jonas Martin stinging Thomas Strakosha's gloves early on (19'). Flavien Tait then latched onto Morel's cross-field ball only to see his shot deflected wide for a corner which came to nothing (22'). At the other end, Danilo Cataldi struck a fine free-kick towards top corner of the Rennes goal with the first half drawing to a close, but Edouard Mendy made the save look easy thanks to his fine positioning (42'). Rennes' width due to Julien Stéphan's preferred 5-3-2 formation was causing Lazio problems - they ended the half with 58 percent of the possession - but there was ultimately no way through and Serhiy Boyko's whistle for half-time went with the deadlock intact.
The second half was just minutes old went Camivanga was inches away from giving Rennes what would have been a deserved lead. The 16-year-old latched onto M'Baye Niang's pass inside but his left-footed effort whistle narrowly wide (48'). Sensing the game slipping away from him, Inzaghi brought on usual starters Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto for Cataldi and Valon Berisha (52'), but it was Les Rouge et Noir who subsequently seized the initiative. Former AS Roma midfielder Clément Grenier shrugged off the hostile reception to swing a delicious ball into the Lazio box, and Morel was on hand to head home for 1-0 (55'). Camavinga then cut through the Lazio midfield like butter, but his shot from the edge of the box failed to test Strakosha (57'). The Lazio substitutes found their feet, though, and Alberto assisted for Milinkovic-Savic to restore parity with less than half an hour to go (63') before immobile rose highest to meet Milinkovic-Savic's cross for 2-1 (75'). Benjamin Bourigeaud forced a good save from a free-kick late on (80') and Grenier volleyed just off-target (85') but it wasn't to be.