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Lucky 13 as Saint-Etienne close in on Europe


Paris (AFP) – Saint-Etienne continued their incredible upturn in fortunes on Friday with a 1-0 win at Montpellier in Ligue 1 that stretched their unbeaten run to 13 games and edged them closer to European qualification.

Romain Hamouma got the only goal of the game inside 10 minutes, tapping in a Remy Cabella assist, before goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier saved a Giovanni Sio penalty on the stroke of half-time.

The 10-time former French champions looked set for a relegation battle midway through the season but have not lost since January 21 and are now up to fifth.

They may be overtaken by Nice later this weekend, but finishing in the top six should be enough for Saint-Etienne to reach the Europa League — provided Paris Saint-Germain win the French Cup.

In contrast, Montpellier’s European hopes appear to be over after this loss.

Earlier on Friday, Unai Emery confirmed he would be leaving his role as coach of champions PSG at the end of his second season in charge.

The German Thomas Tuchel, without a club since his tumultuous departure from Borussia Dortmund in May 2017, is the hot favourite to succeed Emery.

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