Saint-Étienne vs. Rennes  1 - 0

Article

Antonetti announces Rennes exit

23 April 2013 11:53

Frederic Antonetti has confirmed he will leave his post as manager of Rennes at the end of the season.

Antonetti announced the decision on the club's official website on Tuesday, less than 72 hours after the club's disappointing loss in the Coupe de la Ligue final.

Rennes were beaten 1-0 by Saint Etienne at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Antonetti was linked with the Montpellier job recently, and the club's president Louis Nicollin said on Saturday that he was in the running to replace the outgoing Rene Girard.

Despite the Montpellier position being handed to former Nancy coach Jean Fernandez, Antonetti still decided to walk away from Rennes.

"After four wonderful years, my adventure with Stade Rennais FC will end," Antonetti said.

"I have decided to leave the club, partly due to the disappointment at the difficult end to the season."

Rennes have failed to win in their last eight league matches, with their last Ligue 1 win coming against Toulouse on February 10.

The club were as high as fourth in the Ligue 1 table during January but their poor run of form has seen them slide to 10th, extinguishing their hopes of UEFA Champions League football.

Antonetti has led Rennes to a sixth-placed finish in the last two seasons but was unable to provide top level European competition for the club.

"Our task now is not to give up but to leave everything on the pitch and finish the season on a high," Antonetti added.

"I want to wish everyone at Stade Rennais, the players, supporters and members of the club all the best for the future and I hope they achieve the success they deserve."

Article

Aubameyang thrilled with Saint-Etienne silverware

21 April 2013 08:27

Saint-Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was delighted to see his side lift the Coup de la Ligue on Saturday.

A 1-0 win over Rennes gave Saint-Etienne their first major trophy since 1981, when they won the Ligue 1 title, and Aubameyang said he was happy to give the team's supporters something to shout about.

"All the fans have been waiting for this day and us as well," Aubameyang said.

"To be able to write a new page in the history of the club is just wonderful.

"Personally, I will never forget this moment and neither will anyone else in the team. We all get along very well together and we are one team."

Aubameyang paid tribute to Brandao, whose 18th-minute strike was enough to lift the cup.

"Brandao has been the star of this competition for Saint-Etienne," he said.

"I am so happy for him. He was criticised a lot by the media and he showed that he is always efficient when it matters. It is really great for him and I hope people support him."

Aubameyang's team-mate Loic Perrin said the club will use the cup win to inspire them for the last six games of the Ligue 1 season.

"This victory will help us for the rest of the championship as we are now sure that will play the Europa League next year," he said.

"The end of our season will be very exciting with only big games.

"I hope that we will now finish strongly. Let's enjoy this victory and from Wednesday focus on Ligue 1 to make this season one to remember."

Article

Coupe de la Ligue: Saint-Etienne 1 Rennes 0

21 April 2013 01:12

Saint-Etienne have ended a 32-year wait for a major trophy with a 1-0 triumph over Rennes to claim France's Coupe de la Ligue.

A goal from striker Brandao midway through the first half was sufficient to separate the sides in a high-paced encounter that had plenty of goal-mouth action despite the scoreline.

Saint-Etienne lifted the Coupe de la Ligue for the first time in their history, claiming their first major trophy since winning the French league title in 1981, although the club did win France's second tier in 1999 and 2004.

The men in green dominated Rennes at the Stade de France on Saturday and deservedly took the lead in the 18th minute when Brandao finished off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross.

Pressing high up the field, Renaud Cohade robbed the ball from the Bretons, allowing Yohan Mollo to slip a neat pass down the left channel for Aubameyang and the Gabonese striker hit a cross with the outside of his right foot to Brandao.

The Brazilian slotted the ball into an empty net after Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil had tried to intercept Aubameyang's cross.

A late volley from Rennes' Sadio Diallo nearly squared the match but Stephane Ruffier saved Saint-Etienne with a fine diving stop to his left.

For a period after they opened the scoring Saint-Etienne threatened to blast Rennes away as Fabien Lemoine sent a fizzing shot a foot too high before Aubameyang again crossed for Brandao, who was expertly denied by Costil.

Rennes' best chances for an equaliser came through substitute centre-back John Boye in the second half, steering a header just wide following a hopeful long ball into the box, before again showing his aerial power from a corner kick but Ruffier made the save.

Saint-Etienne's goalkeeper then did brilliantly to thwart Diallo with four minutes left and secure a long-awaited title for his club, much to the delight of their army of fans in Paris, securing European football for next season.

Article

Antonetti considers Saint-Etienne heavy favourites

20 April 2013 01:12

Ahead of Saturday's Coupe de la Ligue final, Rennes head coach Frederic Antonetti claims his side are huge underdogs against Saint-Etienne.

Saint-Etienne reached the final with victory over Lille on penalties following a 0-0 draw, while Rennes beat Montpellier 2-0.

Rennes sit 10th in the Ligue 1 standings, while Saint-Etienne are fourth and pushing for surprise Champions League qualification.

And Antonetti believes Saint-Etienne's special place in French hearts, a consequence of their European heroics in the 1970s, could count against his team.

"I don't know our exact chance to win the final," Antonetti said.

"What I know is that Saint Etienne is the huge favourite. I used the word rubbish which shocked everybody because I thought outsider was too light an expression for our chance of winning.

"I know people are shocked I don't give us much chance but the greens (Saint-Etienne) are favourite because they are doing exceptionally well since January, whereas we have been standing still.

"They have got the confidence, they have got the aura because except Brittany, except in Lyon and in Corsica, the rest of France is rooting for the greens tomorrow.

"All these factors make our chances are quite weak, but we will give our best and because this is football anything can happen in a final."

With his team just four points behind third-placed Marseille in the league, Saint-Etienne head coach Christophe Galtier does not want the Coupe de la Ligue final to distract his team from their other objectives.

"A final is always an important game, but is it the most important game of the season? That I don't know," he said.

"What's assured is that we'll have very important Ligue 1 games for us after this one, these games will give us the chance to reach our goal but this is a final.

"I would lie by saying it's not important, it is an important game but after this one, the championship won't be over, far from it. We'll still have six games to get the best league position possible and that is an important target for us. We won't take anything for granted."

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
2 19 +23 39
3 19 +19 38
4 19 +10 36
5 19 +5 32
6 19 -1 31

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
6 19 -1 31
7 19 +2 30
8 19 -3 28
9 19 -5 28
10 19 +2 26