FRENCH LIGUE 1

Geoffroy-Guichard, France

Attendance: 21564

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St Etienne

  • Romain Hamouma 73'

1 - 0

FT

St Etienne v Valenciennes: Preview

Ligue 1 could have a surprise pacesetter come tomorrow night as St Etienne and Valenciennes come together in clash between two of the division's in-form sides.

St Etienne and VA lie fifth and sixth respectively ahead of the match, both locked together on 22 points and just three shy of leaders Lyon.

Victory for either side at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard would be enough to take them to the summit on goal difference ahead of the remainder of the weekend fixtures, although St Etienne midfielder Renaud Cohade insists it would be a mistake for either set of players to start thinking in such terms.

``First we must win the game!'' Cohade said on club website asse.fr.

``It will be a very difficult match. Concerning the classification, there are other teams better ranked than us looking to be leaders (come the end of the weekend).''

St Etienne go into the game defending an eight-match unbeaten run in the league, but face a Valenciennes side who have tasted defeat just once in their last seven.

And Cohade concedes his team will pay the price if they allow their standards to slip.

``We have to have the mindset that we show in every game,'' he said.

``We all get along well, on the field and off. Everyone wants to pull in the same direction.

``We are on a good run that we want to extend, so we must be very consistent and very rigorous.''

VA coach Daniel Sanchez, meanwhile, says it is no surprise to see St Etienne joining his side in challenging the likes of Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Paris St Germain at the sharp end of the standings.

``St Etienne is not ranked as one of the surprises of the season,'' he said.

``We expected to see this team at the top of the table, as it has a great potential.

``This is a club which also has significant resources, so it is not a surprise.''

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