RECAP: CAEN 1 - 0 ST. ETIENNE
CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, March 6, 2011
Caen stole the win at home in the final minutes as St. Etienne saw their losing-streak extend to four games.
Carlos Bocanegra resumed his duties in the Stephanois defense and saw in a full ninety in the losing effort.
In an overall lackluster performance from both sides, neither side really posed any threat until the close of the first half.
St. Etienne orchestrated their only threat of the first half just before the break when Rivière found Bakary Sako on the left side outside the box. Ditching his defender, the French midfielder raced along the baseline, and attempted a flick across the net, but only managed to hit the left post.
On their ensuing drive back down the field, Caen nearly found the back of the next, but Sambou Yatabaré watched his header carom off the crossbar and bounce inches in front of Jérémie Janot's goalline.
St. Etienne looked to continue their pressure in Stade Malherbe and nearly opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. Battles led the attack down the left side and laid off for Sako running in from behind. After a cross over to Emmanuel Rivière at the right post, the Frenchman nodded forward to maintain ball control, and delivered a dribbler across the face of the open net that couldn't find a tap forward.
Caen created an opportunity of their own in the 72nd minute off a free kick from 25 yards out on the right. Mollo's delivery in found contact in the box and actually deflected off Moustapha Bayal towards goal. Janot was there with great reflexes to keep the score even.
Another delivery in the 82nd minute caused problems for the St. Etienne defense, Kandia Traore and Janot crashed into one another, causing the ball to dance precariously on top of the crossbar before falling and being cleared.
St. Etienne found a chance to open the scoring with a 3-on-1 break in the 84th minute. However, Rivière fumbled his opportunity, fell after contact with Damien Marcq, and tried to draw a penalty call in vain.
The Caen faithful at Stade Malherbe got what they paid for, as Youssef El-Arabi stole the show two minutes into added-time with his 13th goal of the season after confusion in the St. Etienne backline. After a cross from the right, three defenders let the ball skip through the box to Yohan Mollo, who immediately found El-Arabi open ten yards in front of the net for the easy strike past Janot for the 1-0 lead and win.
Now suddenly in 10th with 35 points, the Stephanois look to regroup at home next Saturday as they host neighbor in the rankings Brest.