Against Reims, last weekend, the Saint-Etienne Sports Association expected to hold its first victory in Ligue 1 in a month (against Nîmes 2-1, January 25). But finally, Boulaye Dia on penalty, in stoppage time (90th + 4), came to shower the hopes of the men of Claude Puel. This Sunday, they face Olympique Lyonnais at Groupama Stadium in a derby that promises to be very hot (meeting obviously to follow live on our live commented).
ASSE is unlikely to win in Lyon, especially given the form of the two teams, and the red zone is starting to get closer. The Nîmes Olympique, which is a roadblocker and makes a nice comeback, is only two small points away and the specter of a relegation or at least a roadblock to play next summer to save his life in the elite is starting to hover a bit in the Forez. All this inevitably recalls the bad memories of the 2000-2001 season.
At the end of 2001, the Greens were relegated to Ligue 2 for the last time in our contemporary era. Division 1 is then played at eighteen clubs with three relegated at the end of the season. Little strange fact, that year, Strasbourg and ASSE went down having lost on the ground while Toulouse was relegated administratively to National. Small return on this season of AS Saint-Etienne compared to this year in Ligue 1.
Almost identical results
During this season, the Greens are experiencing several problems. The first of them is defense since the Foréziens finish this edition of Division 1 with a negative goal average of 13 goals. In 34 games, they will have scored 43 goals while conceding 56. In this season, they will not reach the 10-win mark, since they will only win nine games for 10 draws and especially 15 losses!
This season, there are more clubs in Ligue 1 (20) and especially the last two descend directly while the 18th plays a play-off against the one who has successfully completed the obstacle course reserved for him in Ligue 2. For the moment, Claude Puel’s players have 8 victories, 5 draws and already 13 defeats, but there are still twelve games in the hexagonal championship and a priori, Toulouse and Amiens are on track to finish 20th and 19th.
The case of false passports
The case of false passports is a case that wreaked havoc in the French championship of the aforementioned season. In the collective imagination, ASSE is the main accused (and convicted) in this story, but other clubs were also in the eye of the storm. Indeed, Faryd Mondragón (Metz) was Colombian and played with a Greek passport, Pablo Contreras (Monaco), the Chilean, played with an Italian passport just like Diego Garay, the Argentinian of Strasbourg. Finally, in Saint-Etienne, Maxym Levytsky (ASSE), the Ukrainian, played with a false Greek passport while the two Brazilians, Aloisio and Alex, played with Portuguese passports.
The first ASSE striker quoted, was, moreover, made a big knee injury, moving him away six months from the grounds. But because of this, the season of the Greens has been more than chaotic. In January 2001, they take seven penalty points. Sanction reduced to three points on appeal in February. The Greens appeal to the FFF commission, which increases the seven-point penalty in March. The Federal Council of the Federation as a last resort in sport rejects Stéphane’s appeal in April and finally, the Lyon administrative court cancels any penalty in May.
If ASSE had all his points earned on the field at the end of the season, these events, which lasted a little more than seven months (between October and May), necessarily played out in the Foréziens’ season. Indeed, they went up in the classification or lost positions throughout the season without even playing against them. We can therefore consider that if the sports record was not so famous, it was largely due to this case which will have poisoned this edition of D1.
A nice comeback
After their descent in 2001, the Greens will spend a few years in the anteroom of Ligue 1 before going back definitively (until today anyway) in 2004. During the 2003-2004 Division 2 season, the ASSE and Stade Malherbe Caen will crush the championship since their closest chaser (Istres) will finish seven points behind the Foréziens and five points behind the Normans, who will therefore also gain access to the French elite.
This year, we can consider that the training trained at the start of the season by Ghislain Printant and now by Claude Puel is weak, but that the extra sports does not play such a great importance compared to almost twenty years ago. Besides the fact that two and a half clubs descend to Ligue 2, the supposed weakness of the closest pursuers of the Greens (Nîmes, Metz and Dijon) and especially their inexperience in Ligue 1 will play in favor of Loïc Perrin and his teammates.