Rennes Stops At 2nd Place, Saint-Etienne In Crisis

SAINT-ETIENNE, France (AP) – Saint-Etienne remained stuck at the bottom of the French league after suffering a humiliating 5-0 home defeat against Rennes on Sunday that pushed the Brittany region club to second place in the league. table and caused Saint-Etienne, 10-time French league champion, to suspend his coach.

Forward Martin Terrier commanded Rennes’s attack by scoring a hat trick against Claude Puel’s club, which have just two wins in 17 games this season.

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Saint-Etienne suspended Puel from his duties as a strategist “until further notice” in a move that is likely to ease somewhat the annoyance of the team’s fans, who for weeks have been calling for the manager’s dismissal. The club has not yet announced a successor to Puel, who took office two years ago.

The beating allowed Rennes to climb to second place, 11 points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain, who drew 1-1 on Saturday in their visit to Lens. Rennes were two points ahead of Olympique Marseille, who lost 2-1 at home to Brest.

Terrier scored all three of his goals with assists from Croatian midfielder Lovro Majer.

Many of the Saint-Etienne fans left before the final whistle at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, amid chants and boos against the players.

Saint-Etienne became a French soccer powerhouse, dominating the league during the 1960s and 1970s, setting a record with 10 titles won. But it went into decline after a financial scandal in the 1980s and is currently suffering its worst start to the season since 1994.

Monaco beat Metz 4-0 in their second consecutive victory. Forward Sofiane Diop scored in the first minute and Kevin Volland, Gelson Martins and Wissam Ben Yedder increased the lead with goals in the second half.

For its part, Nice suffered its third sure disaster at home against Strasbourg. Goals from Ludovic Ajorque, Habib Diallo and Adrien Thomasson gave the Alsace club a 3-0 victory.

In Bordeaux, Lyon’s defensive deficiencies were again evident in a 2-2 draw.

Montpellier edged Clermont 1-0, Angers beat hometown Reims 2-1 and Nantes ended their five-game winless streak with a 1-0 away win over Lorient.

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