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how the Greens regained color

The Greens, carried in particular by Wahbi Khazri, have regained color in recent weeks. Frederic Chambert / PANORAMIC

This Sunday (1 p.m.), AS Saint-Etienne hosts Paris Saint-Germain with the hope of continuing their momentum.

Saint-Etienne against Paris Saint-Germain. It’s almost a clash of extremes. This Sunday (1 p.m.), the Greens, penultimate in Ligue 1 before the 15th day, welcome the Red and Blue, leaders of the championship. If this poster looks a priori completely unbalanced, the men of Claude Puel however have serious reasons to hope for a positive result. Because for several weeks, ASSE has resumed colors.

A disastrous start to the season

Catastrophic. The word is strong but corresponds well to the start of the season for the Forez club. After three draws in a row – against Lorient (1-1), Racing Club de Lens (2-2) and LOSC (1-1) – the Greens sank, suffering five defeats in a row against teams in the superior groups such as Olympique de Marseille (3-1), Montpellier (2-0), AS Monaco (3-1) and OGC Nice (0-3); but they also bowed against the Girondins de Bordeaux, a poster that seemed, on paper, within their reach. Relegated to the bottom of the rankings and with no real signs of hope, AS Saint-Etienne had to face the discontent of its supporters.

Greens fans began to be increasingly vocal about Claude Puel, demanding his resignation or dismissal. On October 21, on the eve of the opposition against Angers SCO, a hostile banner against him was displayed at the club’s training center. “Puel: we give you 24 hours to resign“, could we read on it. The next day, the kick-off of the meeting between Stéphanois and Angevins had been delayed due to the revolt of part of the public, guilty of large jets of smoke on the lawn of the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard and an attempt land invasion…

Colors found

Despite its explosive situation, both sportingly and in terms of the stands, the Foréz team was able to find the necessary resources to bounce back and relaunch. The first thinning appeared on October 3, during the derby against Olympique Lyonnais. That evening, the players from Saint-Etienne delivered a solid performance, rivaling their rivals from Lyon, who were given the favourites. The two teams left on an encouraging draw (1-1), obtained after additional time by the equalization, on penalty, of Wahbi Khazri. This good point snatched in the last moments could have – should? – definitively launch the season of the Greens. It has not happened. During the following day, Claude Puel and his men lost heavily against Strasbourg (5-1).

It was from the match against Angers SCO that AS Saint-Etienne really recovered. Led by two goals, the Saint-Etienne club did not give up to snatch the point of the draw (2-2) through Mickaël Nade in additional time, once again, after the reduction of the score of Wahbi Khazri on the hour mark. A great reaction that seems to have been a foundation for the squad. The following weekend, the Greens returned from the Stade Saint-Symphorien, in Metz, with a rather encouraging point (1-1); this time thanks to an incredible inspiration from Wahbi Khazri. It was not until November 7 to witness their first victory. Back in the hunter’s position, two goals down, they completely overthrew promoted Clermont Foot late in the game, scoring two goals in added time – by Jean-Philippe Krasso and Saïdou Sow respectively – to clinch their first win of the season (3-2). Last week, against ESTAC, ASSE confirmed its rebound by chaining a second win in a row (0-1). To the delight of his trainer:We delivered a great first period […] I still remember that we had seven players injured, sick or suspended. It’s nice, in this context, to finally lead in the score, not to take a goal and to bring back three points. It’s not unusual“, rejoiced Claude Puel after the meeting.

SEE AS ​​WELL – The exceptional goal of Wahbi Khazri against FC Metz

Ambitions against Paris Saint-Germain

Thus, AS Saint-Etienne is doing much better. She left the Ligue 1 red lantern chair to occupy the one just above, thus approaching the first non-relegation. With 12 points on the clock, it is only a small unit from 15th position, held for the moment (before the 15th day) by Stade de Reims. So, against Paris Saint-Germain, this Sunday (1 p.m.), the Greens intend to continue their momentum: “As usual, we will approach this match to win it. We know who we are up against, with enormous resources, character and talent, even if she can sometimes find herself in difficulty. It will be up to us to stay focused on what we want and need to do, by raising our level of play, with or without the ball. We have already encountered these problems in Troyes. We saw our mental resources and in terms of players“said Claude Puel at a press conference. Paris Saint-Germain is warned.

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