CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, January 30, 2011
A pair of goals from Bakary Sako made the difference as Saint Etienne moved up the rankings with the help of Carlos Bocanegra in defense.
Bocanegra featured in the Saint Etienne backline for the duration of the encounter, picking up his first yellow of the season in the waning minutes.
The affair needed a little over a quarter hour to heat up in Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, with Toulouse nearly lighting up the scoreboard first. At the top of the goal box, Argentine Mauro Cetto headed a corner in for Federico Santander, whose effort from a yard in front of the net somehow glanced off the crossbar and out.
The hosts were quick to counter and scored in the next minute. In the build-up, Loîc Perrin did well to evade two defenders on the right side and find Gonzalo Bergessio in the box.
Although the Argentine couldn't get a handle on the ball drifting away from the net, Sako was there at the top of the area to smash past Matthieu Valverde for the one goal lead after 18 minutes.
Toulouse tried to get back in the 28th minute with good ball movement around the area to Paulo Machado on the right side.
Delivering a nice cross, the Portuguese winger found Santander for a misguided header from close range that at first hit defender Moustapha Bayal's head, and fell again for Santander. The Paraguayan attempted tap to in from a meter out but somehow only managed to lift the ball into the night sky.
The eventual game-winner came four minutes later at the tail end of a team effort to move the ball downfield. In spite of the efforts of defenders Mauro Cetto and Adrian Javier Gunino to fend off a Moussa Sissoko drive through the midfield, Sako found room to launch a blazing strike from the top of the box past Valverde for the two goal advantage.
The second half saw Toulouse attempt a comeback thanks to a 51st minute golazo from Franck Tabanou. The Frenchman needed no help evading two defenders in the midfield and unleashing a screamer from 30 yards out on the left side that eked past the outstretched fingers of Jérémie Janot.
With the three points Saint Etienne leapfrog Toulouse into sixth, and look to advance further next Saturday at Montpelier Hérault SC.