Saint Etienne’s fans raid stadium, and chase players with fireworks

Oladimeji Adeoye

Oladimeji Adeoye

Saint Etienne fans invaded the stadium yesterday after their club lost on penalties to Auxerre in a relegation/promotion playoff. Their inability to win the game means they will start next season’s campaign in Ligue two. The invasion was observed immediately after the referee ended the game, with fans seen running after players and throwing heavy fireworks at them.

In October 2021, the club was forced to play games behind closed doors after fan protests, and their last game of the regular season against Monaco was also staged without fans because of further trouble. If what happened last night is investigated and found to be true, then it means Saint Etienne will play their games behind closed doors next season.

The two-leg relegation battle was first played at Auxerre’s home ground on 26 May, where both teams settled for a 1-1 draw. Yesterday, the return leg was played on Saint Etienne turf. The encounter ended 1-1 at full time and entered into extra time of thirty minutes.

Moroccan midfielder Hamza Sakhi scored for Auxerre in the second half but had his goal neutralized by Mahdi Camara just a few minutes to full time. Ryad Boudebouz missed the first and only spot-kick for Saint Etienne. The penalty shoot-out ended in the favour of Auxerre who will play next season in Ligue one.

Saint Etienne was recorded as the most successful club in French Ligue one, not until PSG’s emergence in this era. The club dominated the Ligue one in the 50s across the 70s winning 10 Ligue one, a joint-record with PSG. The Greens are sixth times Coupe de France winner, winning their most recent trophy, Coupe De la Liga in the 2012-13 season.

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