Saint-Etienne and Lyon parted back to back, this Sunday, at the end of an exciting derby and rich in adventures (1-1).
It took the electricity of a derby in the Chaudron to brave the cold, the pouring rain and the ambient gloom that has been hovering over Saint-Etienne in recent weeks. We will keep repeating it: in a derby, the ranking photograph does not exist. A derby is an explanation between old acquaintances, isolated in time and space. This derby was no exception to the rule. It was intense, indecisive, surprising, sometimes overwhelming. It was a great football game.
Package turn on the light, Aouar shower the Cauldron
The situation of Saint-Etienne, red lantern of Ligue 1, called for a certain caution. It has not happened. Seeing Lyon go down from the start spared us the traditional round of observation. On his first fulgurance, Lucas Paquetá distilled a caviar to Aouar, whose opening scoring was refused for a goal kick on the overflow of the Brazilian (2nd). This alert unbridled everything. The Greens could not calculate. Fighting meant looking this OL in the eye. And that’s what they did, with a certain personality.
Khazri could and should have cleared the situation on an easy header but his recovery crashed on the post after an action initiated by Nordin (9th). The Tunisian then detonated the Cauldron, for a fraction of a second, when he made the nets tremble on an express counter before his goal was failed by the VAR.
In the meantime, OL had not been without a spring. Sometimes on the verge of breaking up in the recovery phases, Peter Bosz’s men have remained faithful to their idea of the game. Their intense pressing and their verticality were very painful, under the impetus of this untenable Paquetá, which we no longer know if he is a real 10, a false 9 or a precious 8 as he combines the attributes of the modern designer. One thing is certain: the Brazilian is the switch of this team. It was he who turned on the light on a marvel of opening in space for Aouar, who showered Sainté with a coiled shot that came to lodge in the small net (0-1, 42nd).
Lopes sees red
The Greens had taken a blow to the head. And the bill at this point in the match could have been heavier if the goals of Shaqiri and Toko-Ekambi, before and after the break, had not been refused (44th, 47th) – decidedly the theme of the evening for Mr. Letexier. Still, OL then entered a management phase. An approach always risky in a derby. Despite a few well-felt offensive blows, the Gones left the Stéphanois alive during a second period under high tension.
Lyon paid for it in its own way, somewhere, because the affair got tough on a poorly controlled exit of Lopes, excluded after viewing his work: a loose ball that rebounded on his head and his hand about ten meters outside its surface, before a remake of the commedia dell’arte to highlight his acting skills. Launched into the arena, Pollersbeck did not have time to breathe. OL’s number 2 goalkeeper had barely taken his place in his cages when he was saved by his bar on a missile from Gourna (77th), before standing up twice on the road to the Greens, pushing back the dry strikes from Youssouf (79th) and Camara (86th). It was at the end of the night, in a mouse hole, that Sainté was rewarded by snatching a penalty on a against the hand of Denayer. Khazri transformed it with authority, on the wire, as an end point to this exciting battle (1-1, 90th + 5).
In the end, this derby offered its share of lessons and satisfactions, including that, for Saint-Etienne as for OL, of not having let go of the weapons in the heart of adversity. But in this little game, Lyon cracked. Everyone will now go about their business, in two very distinct worlds: OL, tenth after seeing themselves fifth, always look upwards when their rival remains at the bottom. The derby is over. The classification and the routine resume their rights.