Football: Barclays league division one-10-man St Louis Suns inflict rare defeat on Côte d’Or


It was just the win that St Louis Suns needed after their shock loss to St Roch last week in controversial circumstances.

However, the boys of coach Michel Renaud had to battle hard especially after Serge Asba was harshly sent off for two bookable offences late in the game.

This match though was a cagey affair with both teams trying to cancel each other out in all departments.

Côte d’Or’s decision to play Renick Esther in defence to thwart the threat of Trevor Poiret and captain Mervin Mathiot raised a few eyebrows.

Scoring opportunities were not so evident in this first half with the best chance dropping to Côte d’Or’s Collin Esther in the 39th minute as Gerald Basset got the better of Serge Asba to centre to him but he could not direct his header past goalkeeper Joel Lesperance.

St Louis Suns also had a gilt-edge opportunity on the stroke of half-time as Poiret curled in a wicked free-kick which Côte d’Or goalkeeper Kitson Cecile had to parry away from danger.

St Louis Suns struck a decisive blow in the first minute of the second half as captain Mathiot pounced on Bernard St Ange’s error to run at goal. Captain Mathiot then fed Poiret who was pulled down by Gervais Saminadin for a clear penalty which referee Bernard Camille duly obliged.

St Louis Suns’ new recruit Nigel Freminot stepped up to blast the ball past goalkeeper Cecile and into the roof of the net for a 1-0 lead which the home team wildly celebrated.

The goal forced Côte d’Or to become more offensive and in the 50th minute, Marcus Labiche almost punished Elijah Tamboo’s poor back pass but goalkeeper Lesperance was quick to put off the former La Passe striker.

As Côte d’Or pushed forward, St Louis Suns should have added a second goal from Poiret’s incisive play to thread a pass to Tamboo whose shot on the turn was too weak to trouble goalkeeper Cecile.

Côte d’Or raised the tempo as they put St Louis Suns under a lot of pressure but in the 70th minute assistant referee Gilbert Lusta awarded a soft free-kick to the Praslin side against Asba for a blatant dive by substitute Dine Suzette. Reigning footballer of the year, Malagasy Jean Tigana, wasted a well-placed free-kick.

In the 86th minute, St Louis Suns captain Mathiot stole the ball from Saminadin but failed to bore on goal as he blew a clear chance.

Seconds later at the other end, Côte d’Or’s Suzette went down in a heap to trick assistant referee Lusta again as he flagged for an infringement. To everyone’s surprise, referee Camille obliged and even dished out a second yellow card to give the St Louis Suns defender Asba his marching orders.

St Louis Suns though kept closing down Côte d’Or and deep in injury time, Denis Barbé looked to be heading for goal but was brought down by Benoit Marie who was lucky not to be booked as St Louis Suns held on for a morale-boosting victory.

St Louis Suns assistant coach Patrick Cafrine told Sports Nation that his team were determined to bounce back.

“We were conscious that we had to bounce back after last week’s defeat where we did not do ourselves justice. We therefore had to play better and we showed more determination and with better officiating, we achieved the result we had hoped for,” assistant coach Cafrine said.

As for Côte d’Or coach Ahmed Abdou he bemoaned his team’s attitude for this match.

“We did not play well and were below-par in all departments. We probably were too confident and this cost us dearly as St Louis Suns had done their homework after failing to beat us in two seasons. And they were well prepared for this match,” the 2012 coach of the year told Sports Nation.

R. J-L.