Fiery reaction from Dijon after late penalty denies victory
PARIS (AP) — The reaction from Dijon players was as fiery as the mustard the eastern French town is famed for, following a last-minute penalty that denied the struggling team a valuable win at Saint-Etienne on Sunday.
After the French league match finished 1-1, Dijon captain Cedric Varrault and another player were restrained in the tunnel leading back to the dressing rooms as they remonstrated with staff members from Saint-Etienne.
Striker Nolan Roux, whose penalty in the fifth and final minute of injury time rescued a point for mid-table Saint-Etienne, was among those calming down Varrault, who was shown a second yellow card by the referee for protesting the penalty decision and sent off.
The penalty appeared harsh on Dijon — which is located in the Burgundy region and has been producing mustard since the Middle Ages — and it took three people to eventually guide the incensed Varrault back to his own dressing room.
After the final whistle, Dijon coach Olivier Dall’Oglio walked around the pitch shaking his head before congratulating his players on a solid performance.
Midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou’s towering header put Dijon in front midway through the first half.
Saint-Etienne leveled after defender Quentin Bernard was adjudged to have pushed defender Loic Perrin in the back as he ran into the penalty area, although the contact appeared to be minimal.
“I didn’t cheat,” Perrin said. “I got ahead of the defender and he knocked me off balance.”
With Varrault taking several moments to leave the pitch, Roux had to wait. But he held his nerve to expertly curl the ball into the top right corner.
“Yes, we’re angry. What do you expect me to say?” Dijon goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet said on television channel beIN SPORTS. “It’s better if I don’t say anything else.”
Still, the point could prove useful for promoted Dijon, which is in 17th place and one spot above the relegation zone.
MARSEILLE 1, METZ 0
Bafetimbi Gomis won the battle of the strikers, scoring the only goal just after Mevlut Erding had missed a great chance for Metz.
Gomis and Erding have 200 goals between them in the French first division: 108 for Gomis and 92 for Erding. But Gomis came out on top.
The former France striker has proved an instant hit since joining after two inconsistent seasons with Premier League side Swansea, and his close-range finish in the 13th minute was his sixth goal in nine games. After his header from a corner was saved by goalkeeper Thomas Didillon, he reacted quickly to slam home the rebound.
Erding, who also has six goals in nine games for promoted Metz and has been recalled to the Turkey side, faded from the game after missing a one-on-one opportunity.
Metz almost equalized near the end when Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai of Japan swiped at a cross from winger Ismaila Sarr and the ball rolled just wide.
The win moved Marseille up to 12th place, one point and one place behind Metz.
RENNES 1, BORDEAUX 1
Both sides are level on 14 points near the top of the French league and showed just why they are so evenly matched.
Seventh-place Rennes took the lead just before halftime after defender Diego Contento scored an own goal, turning in a cross from striker Giovanni Sio as he tried to clear it.
But defender Nicolas Pallois netted at the right end with a neat volley midway through the second half for sixth-place Bordeaux, which has a better goal difference.