CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, February 6, 2011
Carlos Bocanegra and St. Etienne got the result they needed on the road thanks to two goals from Emmanuel Rivière, and tightened the gap on European competition next season.
Bocanegra featured in the backline for the duration of the game, and picked up his second yellow card in as many games.
The visitors only need a dozen minutes to open the scoring with a fine individual effort from Emmanuel Rivière. Corraling a feed from the center line, the 20-year old only had defender Benjamin Stambouli to outrun and, with the help of a fortunate deflection when netminder Geoffrey Jourdren tried to counter, skip over the keeper and slot home for the easy 1-0 lead.
The Greens doubled the lead in the 37th minute thanks to fine ball-movement that allowed them to get behind the confounded defense for Rivière's second of the night. In a rush forward Laurent Battles dished up the assist from the right side of the penalty area for Rivière wide open at the back post for the easy touch home, his fourth of the season.
In the 42nd minute Bocanegra picked up a yellow after getting tangled with Montpellier defender René Girard.
Stephanois coach Christophe Galtier got a chance to test out both of his acquisitions from this week, starting Alejandro Alonso and substituting him out for fellow newcomer Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in the 62nd minute. Five minutes later, the Gabonese sub got a look on goal after a fancy stepover and strike from the top of the box on the right side, but Jourdren scooped it up with ease.
Montpellier were determined to avoid a shutout at home and found the back of the net a little too late thanks to Jonas. A long free kick from Geoffrey Dernis into the box rebounded out for Jonas, who pounced on the freebie, and managed to get a left foot on it in traffic past Jérémie Janot for the consolation goal.
With the 2-1 result at the final whistle, and Lyon's tie against Bordeaux, St. Etienne find themselves in fifth, with just a couple of points separating them from second. Next Saturday the Greens host Olympique Lyonnais for a chance to enter the Europe-bound ranks.