Football: Saint-Étienne returns to Ligue 1 at the expense of Metz during the accession play-off

Football: Saint-Étienne returns to Ligue 1 at the expense of Metz during the accession play-off

Les Verts ont dû attendre la prolongation pour marquer le 2e but. MAXPPP – Rémy PERRIN

By securing a draw in Metz (2-2) after extra time, Saint-Étienne, who had won in the first leg (2-1), returned to Ligue 1.

After a match played almost entirely with eleven against ten, Saint-Étienne won the play-off for promotion to Ligue 1 (2-1, 2-2) after extra time in Metz on Sunday to return to the elite, which the Lorraine club is leaving. Two years after leaving, this historic French football club will make its grand return to Ligue 1 and thus reconnect with its glorious history, responding to the banner unfurled by its 946 supporters present at the Stade Saint-Symphorien: “It is time to give back its place to the green people.”

Conversely, Metz has not managed to break with its recent history of comings and goings between both divisions. The Grenats are relegated to Ligue 2 for the seventh time in the 21st century, a record among the five major European championships. Starting with a one-goal deficit to overcome (2-1), the Lorraine club immediately sawed off the branch on which it was resting, when Papa Diallo was sent off (6th), guilty of a sole on Dennis Appiah's right knee.

But curiously, it was Laszlo Bölöni's players who played with the most enthusiasm, lighting the first fuses from afar during the first quarter of an hour. Messins finally opened the scoring through Lamine Camara after a cross from captain Matthieu Udol (17th).

The Fear Match

Already filled with doubt which sometimes inhabits the favorites, the Stéphanois then played with fear in their stomachs, failing to extinguish the fire of the Metz dragon, which even turned into a fire when Georges Mikautadze obtained a penalty in the price of a solitary effort on the left wing (23rd). "King George" overtook Dennis Appiah then Irvin Cardona, who unbalanced him. The Franco-Georgian took charge of successfully converting the penalty himself, the ball hitting a post before going in. The No.10 scored his fourteenth goal in this jersey which he has only worn 22 matches this season.

At the edge of the cliff, the Stéphanois then reacted, reducing the score by Léo Petrot (35th), alone at the far post after a corner. Already high before kick-off, with scuffles between supporters and seven arrests, the tension rose another notch on the pitch and in the stands.

Contentious decisions

Several contentious decisions were involved, first and foremost the cancellation of a goal for ASSE (64th), the referee considering that Ibrahim Sissoko had fouled Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja following his shot. The stakes sometimes paralyzed the players in this match of fear, who failed to deliver the final blow at the end of regulation time.

"Holy" took the advantage in the game and in the number of chances, and was finally rewarded during extra time, when Ibrahima Wadji scored the equalizing goal (117th), that of the rise . At the end of the suspense, at the end of themselves, the Stéphanois obtained what they had been waiting for for two seasons: to progress to Ligue 1.

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