Flares Burn Holes In Goal Net, Delaying Start Of Ligue 1 Match

The Saint-Étienne vs. Angers match kicked off late because of more unruly fan behavior in France.

French fans have been unable to behave themselves lately. Whether it’s Marseille ultras storming the training grounds, Marseille and Nice fans brawling during a match or what happened during the Saint-Étienne vs Angers match on Friday, Ligue 1 fans have become a bit too much a story in 2021.

On Friday, fans threw dozens of flares onto the pitch before kickoff of Saint-Étienne’s home game against Angers at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, delaying the match for almost an hour before the sides played to a 2-2 draw. 

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The flares managed to burn a hole in one of the goal nets, which only added to the delay. That’s either a really impressive throw to hit the net or just luck/pure number of flares thrown at the goal. 

The reason for the hissy fit from the fans seems to stem from Saint-Étienne’s start to the 2021-22 season. The Saints entered the weekend propping up the Ligue 1 table with four points from 10 matches and no wins. 

Fans reportedly held banners criticizing Saint-Étienne manager Claude Puel, the former Leicester City boss struggling after finishing 11th last season. 

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When the match finally kicked off — with ashy burns pockmarking the pitch — it didn’t get much better for Saint-Étienne. Ismaël Traoré and Angelo Fulgini gave Angers a two-goal lead by the 56th minute. 

Wahbi Khazri pulled one back six minutes later with a well-struck free kick that tested the replaced net in the goal.

In the fourth of four added minutes of stoppage time, Mickael Nade headed in a late, late equalizer to secure just the fifth point of the season for the Saints as the match finished 2-2. At least for now, Saint-Étienne is even with 19th-place Brest with five points, albeit with a worse goal difference. 

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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