After their team lost a playoff match, angry Saint-Etienne supporters stormed a pitch and were relegated to Ligue 1, France’s highest tier.
Saint-Etienne was defeated 5-4 by Auxerre in penalty kicks.
Saint-Etienne’s Stade Geoffre had won the second-leg match 1-1. There were no extra goals.
Another draw was achieved in the first leg.
Saint-Etienne supporters invaded the field immediately after the last penalty kick and set off fireworks.
To avoid any chaos, players from both teams ran to their locker rooms.
According to L’Equipe newspaper, police dispersed the players.
There were no injuries immediately.
Hamza Sakhi, Auxerre, scored the first goal in the match before Mahdi Camara scored Saint-Etienne’s equaliser.
Ryad Boudebouz missed a Saint-Etienne penalty in the shootout as Auxerre clinched its spot in Ligue 1 for the following season.
Donovan Leon, the Auxerre goalkeeper, was praised for his blocking of the shot and total eight saves.
“Nobody believed in us”
Leon stated, “I was there when they were demoted to 2012.”
“Nobody believed us in this playoff. It was really difficult, but we managed to get up.”
Saint-Etienne holds a record 10 league titles, and has not played at the second tier (Ligue 2) since 2005.
In a statement released just after the match, Saint-Etienne shareholders Roland Romeyer and Bernard Caiazzo said that they would soon announce “important news regarding the future club and our own”
Saint-Etienne was the dominant league player in the 1960s and 1970s. However, he suffered financial scandals in the 1980s that led to setbacks.
Financial difficulties have risen for the club since the pandemic and the collapse in Ligue 1’s billion dollar television contract.
Saint-Etienne is now officially for sale
Auxerre’s fortunes are changing. Its victory marks the end of a decade-long absence at the top tier.