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Saint-Etienne make it two wins from two Ligue 1 Conforama > Match Reports | 12/08/2017

AS Saint-Etienne battled past a dogged SM Caen at the Stade Michel d'Ornano, with Romain Hamouma (67') scoring a richly-deserved winner past a resolute Remy Vercoutre in the home goal.

 SM Caen 0-1 AS Saint-Etienne

THE MATCH

The game got off to a blistering start on a sunny evening in Normandy, with Saint-Etienne bossing possession early on and forcing a stunning save from Vercoutre after Hamouma had steered the ball expertly onto Oussama Tannane's head. The Morocco forward's initial attempt hit the bar, and he reacted quickest only to see Vercoutre spring to life and palm his effort away (14'). At the other end Vincent Bessatlet fly from fully 35 yards - but it was kept out by Stéphane Ruffier in the visiting goal (30'). Tannane then got in behind Alexander Djiku after a fine pass from Jonathan Bamba, but Vercoutre raced off his line to deny him when one-on-one (38').

Caen looked more positive immediately after the restart, and Ivan Santini - who plundered a team high 15 goals last term - came close to opening his account for the new season after beating Assane Dioussé in the air, but his header came back off the woodwork (53'). ASSE settled past the hour, though, and they took a well-earned lead when Hamouma latched onto another Bamba through-ball before slotting a finish through Vercoutre's legs (67'). Bessat - keen to end his near two-year goal drought - saw a goal-bound cross deflect wide off the back of Djiku (72') and it ended 1-0.



THE PLAYER: Romain Hamouma

Now 30, Hamouma's career has enjoyed a second wind over the last year. The France-born winger, who turned down the opportunity to represent Algeria during his last hot streak in 2010 - midway through a nine-goal season with Caen - chipped in with seven from out wide last term. On this performance he could improve upon that this season. As well as providing constant menace, Hamouma completed an impressive 92 per cent of his attempted 42 passes.

THE STAT: 133

Ruffier may have been saved by his post early in the second half, but there is no taking away from the fact that this was the France international's 133rd clean sheet in Ligue 1 Conforama, and 91st with Saint-Etienne, whom he joined from AS Monaco in 2011. The owner of three France caps, the 30-year-old can count himself desperately unlucky to be born just three months earlier than Hugo Lloris - the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper who has made Les Bleus' No1 spot his own since 2008.


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