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Saint-Etienne Suffer Relegation after 10-years

French Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne was relegated from Ligue 1 after losing a play-off against Auxerre in a penalty shoot-out. The defeat sparked a pitch invasion by angry Etienne fans, with many hurling flares at the main stand and towards the players’ tunnel. Police armed with shields and batons used tear gas to disperse supporters.

Saint-Etienne Sanctioned for Pitch Invasion by Fans

The loss ends an 18-year stay in the top flight for the 10-time French champions and a return for Auxerre after a 10-year absence. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Hamza Sakhi of Auxerre opened the scoring before Saint-Etienne’s Mahdi Camara leveled the scores and forced the game into extra time.

Saint-Etienne Suffer Relegation After 10-Years
Saint-Etienne Suffer Relegation after 10-years

The extra time was without a goal and so they headed into penalties. Auxerre goalkeeper Donovan Leon saved from Ryad Boudebou, giving Birama Toure the chance to make it 5-4 in the shoot-out and win it for the Ligue 2 side. He made no mistake, and as soon as the ball nestled in the goal, fans flooded onto the pitch.

Players fled to the safety of the dressing rooms as police tried to quell the trouble. They were just the latest ugly scenes at Saint-Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. The club has received several sanctions this season for crowd trouble and Sunday’s game was played with one stand closed following unrest at a game against Monaco last month.

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