Ligue 1

St. Etienne grabs first Ligue 1 points

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Fabrizio Ravanelli's first competitive game in charge at Ajaccio ended in defeat as St. Etienne ran out 1-0 winners at the Stade Francois Coty.

Brandao's first half strike in the searing Corsican sunshine was enough to secure all three points for Les Verts as the hosts struggled to offer a response and finished the game with 10 men.

The visitors began the game brightly but had nothing to show for their efforts as both sides battled it out in midfield. Benjamin Andre went into the book early on following a clumsy challenge on Franck Tabanou before Adrian Mutu blazed over the bar for the hosts.

But, with almost 35 minutes played, it was St Etienne who made the breakthrough thanks to good work from Romain Hamouma as the 26-year-old winger showed great control before squaring for Brandao to tap home. Ajaccio almost found an instant reply but Ronald Zubar just failed to connect with Johan Cavalli's free-kick and Les Verts' lead remained intact at the break.

Both sides remained unchanged for the start of the second half and struggled to create any real openings in front of goal. Brandao was gifted with a great opportunity to double the lead on the hour mark but Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa came out on top after the Brazilian was played in by Renaud Cohade.

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In what was proving to be a disappointing opening game of the season in Corsica, Cavalli tried to spark things with 15 minutes remaining but his curling effort from outside the area finished up some distance wide of Stephane Ruffier's left post.

Brandao wasted the chance of the second half with time ticking away when he headed Hamouma's corner wide of the post and Ajaccio were reduced to 10 men shortly after.

Having already been booked in the first half, Andre showed naivety with a silly challenge from behind on Benjamin Corgnet and the hosts were forced to see out the few remaining minutes a man down.

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