Sports Mole brings you live coverage from the Stade Francois Coty where Ajaccio host Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 action.
By Matt Cotton, Reporter Filed: Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 15:34 UK
Last Updated: Monday, August 12, 2013 at 20:07 UK
Ajaccio and Saint-Etienne met in the opening encounter of their Ligue 1 campaign at the Stade Francois Coty on Sunday.
L'ours were looking to get off to a good start having narrowly avoided relegation from the top division last year, while Les Verts were looking to build on their successful term in the last campaign after finishing fifth.
It was the visitors that got off to the perfect start though, as Saint-Etienne left with a 1-0 win.
Read how the action unfolded in the live commentary below.
3.35pmGood afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage from Ligue 1 where Ajaccio host Saint-Etienne.
3.36pmThis match marks the first part of a French football double on Sports Mole this afternoon, as following this match we will bring you action from Guingamp against Marseille.
3.37pmBut first to the Stade Francois Coty for a match that's pits two teams against one another who endured rather different campaigns last year.
3.40pmThe hosts, Ajaccio, had a difficult past season and only managed to avoid relegation late on in the year. Since then L'ours have appointed former Juventus star Fabrizio Ravanelli as their new manager, so he will be striving to having a strong start to his tenure at the club.
3.42pmSaint-Etienne stormed to a fifth-placed finish last time out and managed to achieve Europa League football in the process. They also beat Bordeaux to win the Coupe de la Ligue for the first time in their history. However, they have since lost star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Borussia Dortmund, so it remains to be seen as to whether or not they can find another source of goals.
3.46pmSo the ones to watch for Ajaccio start with the man up front for L'ours; Adrian Mutu. Known by many on these shores for his controversial time at Chelsea. One thing is for sure, he will be a big threat.
3.48pmMexico number one Guillermo Ochoa starts in goal for Ajaccio, while former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Ronald Zubar also plays today. Summer signing Benoit Pedretti, who has been at a whole host of French clubs, goes straight into the starting XI.
3.54pmSaint-Etienne have three players who you should keep an eye on from that starting XI. Stephane Ruffier starts in goal for Les Verts, and has attracted a lot of attention from interest clubs during the current transfer window. Kurt Zouma is a powerful defender who has been tipped to have a future of the highest stage, while Brandao is a lively striker who leads the line for ASSE today.
2 minIt's been a quiet start to the match on the field but not in the stands. There is a great noise at the Stade Francois Coty, and the home fans are in fine voice.
3 minAjaccio win a free kick about five yards from the edge of the box slightly to the right of the D. Great chance to have a pop at goal here.
4 minCHANCE! It was Cavalli who stepped up and drilled it low with his left foot. I'm pretty sure it took a deflection or two on its way through the crowded penalty area but Ruffier was able to hold well to his right.
7 minIt's quite a good game at the moment after a dry opening. Saint-Etienne have had a couple of chances to get into the box, but Adrian Mutu's trickery has just won Ajaccio a corner on the left.
8 minRuffier deals with the initial danger from the corner, before catching the cross back into the box.
9 minBrief worry for ASSE as Brandao goes down in some agony from a tackle from behind, but he eventually gets back to his feet and can continue.
10 minNearly a chance for Ajaccio as Mutu gets a sniff of goal after Pierazzi clips a long ball into the box, but it is just too high for the Romanian to get it under control, and the ball rolls out for a goal kick.
11 minSome lovely trickery from Lasne, who beats two men with a quick turn in the centre of the field.
13 minMore worries for Saint-Etienne, and it's Brandao once more. This times he comes off worse in a meeting of the minds and is clutching his head as he makes his way off the field. A quick drink and a shake should sort him out.
14 minBrandao is back on, must have been the shake that did the trick.
17 minNot a huge amount to report on in the last few minutes. Both teams are attacking a fair amount but it is the final pass that is letting them down.
19 minYELLOW CARD Saint-Etienne have a free kick in a decent position on the left as Clerc was having his shirt pulled by Benjamin Andre. The Ajaccio man goes into the book.
21 minThe ball is whipped in with some pace by Clement, but the referee has spotted a foul in the box and awards a free kick Ajaccio's way.
23 minCHANCE! Best opportunity of the game so far and it falls to Adrian Mutu. Lovely build-up from Ajaccio results in Mutu bringing the ball down on his chest right in the centre of the ASSE box. His first touch isn't great as it takes the ball away from goal, but his swinging shot spins the ball high over the crossbar. Should have done better.
24 minRavanelli was evidently angry at Mutu for missing that chance. I bet the fiery Italian would have buried that.
26 minClement pulls down Cavalli on the left and gives away a free kick in a dangerous position. The cross is imminent you would have thought.
27 minPedretti curves a low cross inwards towards goal and it is a very decent delivery. Ajaccio can't get to it first though, and Saint-Etienne clear the danger. All the chances are falling to Ajaccio at the moment.
31 minCohade goes bursting down the left for Saint-Etienne with some blistering pace. He makes his way into the penalty area but his cutback towards Brandao is poor, and Ajaccio clear away the trouble.
35 minIt may be a little harsh on Ajaccio on the balance of play, but Saint-Etienne are ahead with their first shot of the match. Brilliant play from Hamouma who raced brilliantly down the right before playing a wonderful low ball across the face of goal, where Brandao beat Zouma to it at the far post to tap in the game's opening goal.
36 minClement is livid at the referee after he awards Ajaccio a free kick for his challenge on Cavalli. It was a foul, but Cavalli did make a meal of it.
37 minCHANCE! Ajaccio very nearly find an instant equaliser. It's a brilliant ball whipped in by Cavalli from right of centre just outside the box, and it lands towards Zubar at the far post. But the defender can't quite reach it, and it bounces out for a goal kick.
38 minHamouma causing more problems for Ajaccio as his tricky run own the right wins a corner. The ball is cleared away, but Saint-Etienne have a chance from another corner.
39 minCHANCE! Brandao is at it again as he connects with his head at the far post from the corner. However, he can't direct it down, and the ball sails over the bar.
43 minIt's the Saint-Etienne fans that are making all the noise at the moment behind the goal on the right. One of them has a drum on them as well, and is happily banging along. The game's hit a bit of a quiet patch just before the break.
45 minAjaccio have the chance to bring the ball forward and Lasne brings it under control on the left flank. He has people to aim for in the box, but his cross is awful and goes behind for a goal kick.
45 minThree minutes of added time to play at the end of this first half. Can Ajaccio find a leveller before the break?
45+2 minPierazzi gives away a stupid free kick after tugging the shirt of the pacy Tabanou. Chance for Saint-Etienne to double their lead before the break.
45+3 minThe free kick is taken by Cohade, but is easily caught at the far post by Ochoa.
4.49pmSo it's the visitors who are ahead at the break thanks to a Brandao goal in the 34th minute. That came at a time when Ajaccio were on top as well.
4.50pmPersonally, I think Ajaccio have just shaded the first half but have been far too wasteful in the final third. Saint-Etienne looked stronger as the game went on too. Interesting second half on the way.
45 minKICK OFF! We're back underway at the Stade Francois Coty.
46 minSAINT-ETIENNE CHANGE Franck Tabanou has been brought off by Christophe Galtier at the break, with Banel Nicolita coming on.
48 minSaint-Etienne come forward with Brandao and Nicolita as the latter makes his way in the box. He has a great chance to shoot, but Zubar is back to make a tremendous late challenge on the winger.
52 minSlow start to the second half, but Saint-Etienne are seeing a lot of the ball. Much to the frustration of Ravanelli.
53 minAJACCIO CHANGE Mehdi Mostefa is brought off by Ravanelli, with Sigamary Diarra taking his place.
55 minBrandao is penalised by the referee for what can only be described as a blatant, two-handed shove in the back on his opponent. He's pretty physical this Brazilian.
56 minAjaccio enjoy a nice bit of flair as they mount an attack towards goal. It ends up on the right flank with Lasne, who twice fakes a shot to move further inside. He probably should have faked a third, because his effort at goal from the right of the deal was awfully dragged wide of the near post off his left boot.
58 minCHANCE! Saint-Etienne have a wonderful opportunity to double their lead, and it falls once again to Brandao. He is slotted in beautifully by Cohade down the left side of the penalty area, and Brandao manages to get his shot across the face of goal away, but it is well stopped by the onrushing Ochoa.
62 minCavalli stands over a free kick a long way out for the hosts. He'll thump the ball into the box as the big men make their way forward.
63 minCavalli does exactly that, and gets a lovely amount of hang time on his cross. It ends up towards Zubar in a crowd of bodies before going out of play for a goal kick.
65 minCHANCE! ASSE have another great chance to add a second goal. The long ball forward is flicked on brilliantly by Brandao, who plays in Nicolita. The winger bares down on goal on the right side of the box, but rushes his shot and fires it high over the crossbar at pace. Should have done so much better there, that could prove costly.
68 minAjaccio need to find a way back into this, they've barely threatened at all in this second half.
73 minWe've just had a short break in play for Mutu to receive treatment which has turned into a drinking session. With water, obviously.
74 minAJACCIO CHANGE Mutu can't continue, and he is substituted for Dennis Oliech.
77 minCHANCE! Ajaccio come forward with Johan Cavalli, who has looked dangerous all game, but his finish is off target.
78 minSAINT-ETIENNE CHANGE Jeremy Clement is replaced by Ismael Tiemoko Diomande.
80 min10 minutes left to play at the Stade Francois Coty, and Ajaccio have really failed to trouble ASSE in this second half. Saint-Etienne deservedly in front as things stand.
82 minCHANCE! How many more chances will Saint-Etienne squander?! A corner is brilliantly whipped in from the right and it falls to an unmarked Brandao on the penalty spot. He has a free header, but puts it over the bar.
83 minSAINT-ETIENNE CHANGE Renaud Cohade is brought off, and Benjamin Corgnet is sent on.
83 minCHANCE! Again it's Saint-Etienne and again it's Brandao. Les Verts bundle their way into the box and the ball drops at the feet of the Brazilian, who takes a snapshot but can only watch as the ball ends up closer to the corner flag than the goal.
87 minNot long to go, and if anyone is going to score, it will be Saint-Etienne they way things are going at the moment.
90 minYELLOW CARD Brandao is shown a booking for some over-physical play.
90 minThere will be an extra three minutes of this match to be played. Can Ajaccio find a leveller?
90+1 minRED CARD! Benjamin Andre clatters Corgnet from behind in rather clumsy fashion and is given his marching orders as the referee dishes out his second yellow of the match. Surely it's all over for the hosts now.
90+2 minAjaccio having a couple of late attacks, but Ruffier is alert to deal with the final ball.
90+3 minLast chance for Ajaccio to bring the ball forward now, they have it on the left.
5.53pmThe referee brings an end to the game and Saint-Etienne have picked up a win that they deserve. They were probably lucky to be in front at the break following Brandao's goal, but they were by far the better team after half time and should have scored far more.
5.53pmBenjamin Andre was shown a red card for picking up two bookings and will now serve a one-match suspension.
5.54pmThe win moves Saint-Etienne up to sixth in the table, while Ajaccio slip to 15th after one game.
5.55pmThat's it from me for now, make sure you come back to Sports Mole at 7.30pm where we will bring you coverage of Guingamp vs. Marseille. Until then, goodbye.