Saint-Etienne pitch invasion sees fireworks thrown at players and fans tear gassed in ‘unbreathable barrage’ as French giants are relegated for the first time in 17 years May 29, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
Saint-Etienne fans threw fireworks at players after storming the pitch as a penalty defeat against Auxerre sent them out of Ligue 1 for the first time 18 years.
French riot police used tear gas against ASSE supporters after they lost a relegation/promotion play-off match against their Ligue 2 opponents.
A 1-1 first leg away in Auxerre was matched in the reverse fixture and had to be decided on penalties, with Ryan Boudebouz’ opening miss the decider.
And as soon as Birama Toure’s winning penalty hit the back of the net for Auxerre, fans fled onto the pitch launching what La Parisien described as an ‘unbreathable barrage’ on their defeated players.
The French outlet reported that: “The field was immediately invaded with jets of smoke and fireworks towards the entrance to the tunnel and the presidential gallery.”
A disturbing number of lit objects appeared to be thrown towards the tunnel and the directors box with Saint-Etienne players spriting for cover.
Bangs are clearly heard from reported fireworks with tear gas then used to disperse the crowd.
An ownership saga has dogged ‘Les Verts’ all season, and the aftermath saw an announcement that the team had been sold to a ‘multi-club group’ run by David Blitzer who owns shares in Crystal Palace.
And L’Equipe reported that many of those who broke onto the pitch were indeed targeting the club’s owners.
They reported: “Some of them headed for the presidential stand towards which they sent smoke bombs before the police dispersed the crowd with tear gas while the players of the two teams returned to the locker rooms.”
Along with Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, Saint-Etienne are the most successful club in France with 10 league titles, and they’re also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1919.