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Saint-Etienne wins at Monaco to keep the pressure on Lyon

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PARIS (AP) Saint-Etienne beat struggling Monaco 3-2 Sunday to keep the pressure on local rival Lyon in the fight for third place in the French league.

Third spot secures a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League next season, and Saint-Etienne moved above Lyon on goal difference.

Lyon was at home to Lille later Sunday, where a defeat for Lyon would effectively guarantee second place for Lille and automatic Champions League qualification with three games remaining after this weekend.

But Monaco is in trouble in 17th place and only three points above 18th-place Caen in the relegation-promotion playoff position.

Winger Remy Cabella did the damage for Saint-Etienne, scoring with a sharp volley to put the visitors 2-1 up in the 71st minute and then setting up forward Arnaud Nordin for a powerful header 10 minutes later.

Gelson Martins created a goal for Brazilian striker Vinicius, but his injury-time goal came too late for Monaco.

Martins put Monaco ahead in the 18th, only for defender Fode Ballo-Toure to gift Saint-Etienne an equalizer by volleying in an own-goal in the 59th.


Amiens climbed one place above Monaco after a 1-1 draw at Montpellier, which stayed fifth ahead of Marseille on goal difference.

Nantes is finishing the season in championship-winning form, albeit with nothing left to play for. A 3-0 home win against Dijon made it five straight victories and moved coach Vahid Halilhodzic’s side up to 11th place.

French Cup winner Rennes dropped to 13th after a 2-2 draw at Toulouse.

League champion Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 at home to Nice on Saturday and has won only one of its last seven games in all competitions.

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AS Saint Etienne takes player announcement to new level

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A week after FC Nantes spoofed Fortnight in announcing a new signing, fellow French club AS Saint Etienne went a little more old school.

Saint Etienne announced the signing of Timothée Kolodziejczak via the board game Scrabble, somehow spelling out Kolodziejczak along with other French words for defensive traits, such as force, dominant, and a word to describe the announcement, “epic.”

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Kolodziejczak joins after a short spell with fellow Frenchman Andre-Pierre Gignac in Mexico with Tigres UANL. Let’s see which club takes player announcements to the next level.

Saint-Etienne set to be sold to U.S. investors

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SAINT-ETIENNE, France — France’s most decorated soccer club has started “exclusive negotiations” with American investors.

Saint-Etienne says current owners Bernard Caiazzo and Roland Romeyer are discussing with PEAK6 Investments for the possible sale of the 10-time French champions, who dominated soccer in the country during the 1960s and `70s.

PEAK6 already has stakes in Serie A club Roma and Premier League team Bournemouth, and is the majority owner of Irish side Dundalk.

If the sale goes through, Saint-Etienne will become the second club in the top division to be sold to American interests after Frank McCourt took over at Marseille.

According to L’Equipe newspaper, the sale could be finalized within 10 days.

French league targets Saint-Etienne after pitch invasion

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PARIS (AP) The French league will investigate the incidents that marred a soccer match between Saint-Etienne and Lyon after home fans invaded the pitch and unfurled an aggressive banner calling for “hatred” during a 5-0 loss.

[ MORE: Claude Makelele takes over Belgian side Eupen ]

The derby between the two neighbors at Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium was halted twice on Sunday. Referee Clement Turpin stopped the game for a second time in the 84th minute when fans descended from the stands.

Lyon forward Nabil Fekir appeared to spark the invasion by taking off his shirt and raising it in front of angry home fans after his second goal of the night. Turpin led the players away and riot police sprinted onto the field to restore order. The game resumed after more than 30 minutes.

The French soccer federation’s ethics committee said in a statement Monday it has asked the league’s disciplinary commission to open a disciplinary case.

Vieira was up for Saint-Etienne gig, happy at NYCFC for now

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Patrick Vieira’s playing days reputation as a field general already gives him a leg up on a lot of competition for managerial jobs, so it’s no surprise that his success at New York City FC has moved his name even higher up the queue when a job becomes available.

Vieira admitted that Saint Etienne came calling this offseason before settling on former Watford and Maccabi Tel Aviv boss Oscar Garcia, but that the move was not at the right time for him.

[ MORE: 3 keys for USMNT vs. Panama ]

The ex-Arsenal midfielder said he’s too busy enjoying his project at NYCFC, though he did admit, that he’ll be prepared for the next step once the right opportunity presents itself. From RMC:

“I have gained a lot of experience during my two seasons in New York,” said Vieira, who denied any contact with his former Arsenal club, “I feel ready to face the challenges. have a group that allows me to flourish, I have no reason to go elsewhere. “

The 41-year-old has won 43 percent of his matches at NYCFC, neither a small feat in the league or at a club that had struggled to debut under Jason Kreis. He’ll end up somewhere else sooner rather than later, and perhaps his ambitions could lead him elsewhere if his goals are achieved with NYCFC in this season’s MLS Cup Playoffs.

Vieira has won league titles with Arsenal, Juventus, and Inter Milan as a player, and a managerial title in a league with relative parity would certainly shoot his star upward.