St Etienne keep Europe hopes alive
St Etienne kept their Champions League hopes alive by beating second-placed Marseille 2-0 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Last Updated: 18/05/13 11:36pm
St Etienne kept their Champions League hopes alive by beating second-placed Marseille at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
First-half goals from Loic Perrin and Brandao were enough to move ASSE to within a point of third-placed Lyon, whose penultimate match at Nice was delayed until tomorrow due to bad weather.
Victory for Lyon tomorrow would put them out of sight with St Etienne at least assured a Europa League place following their Coupe de la Ligue success.
Marseille had sealed their Champions League place with a 10-game unbeaten run but that came to an end despite a late rally that saw Mathieu Valbuena hit the post.
St Etienne started strongest with visiting goalkeeper Steve Mandanda producing a fine reflex save to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the opening minute.
Mandanda then denied Brandao before Perrin sent St Etienne ahead after 24 minutes.
Brandao headed Romain Hamouma's free-kick across goal for Perrin to scramble to ball in.
Mandanda was keeping OM in the game and again had to be aware to keep out Hamouma but it was 2-0 after 41 minutes when Brandao powered a header home from Faouzi Ghoulam's cross.
After the break Hamouma volleyed Brandao's cross wide from close range before Marseille finally began to wake up.
Andre-Pierre Gignac's curling right footer finally triggered Stephane Ruffier into action after 58 minutes but the visitors' late rally waited until the final five minute.
Valbuena almost clawed a goal back when he combined with Jeremy Morel before smashing his shot against the post with Ruffier beaten.
Jordan Ayew then should have got a goal for his side a minutes from time but Ruffier somehow made a last-gasp block to preserve his clean sheet.