Erding's late equalizer rescues Saint-Etienne vs. struggling Lens
Saint-Etienne threw away a two-goal lead and then needed a late leveller to earn a dramatic 3-3 draw at home to Lens in Ligue 1 on Friday night.
Substitute Mevlut Erdinc's superb 83rd-minute equalizer helped the hosts avoid a third straight defeat, but a solitary point against the relegation contenders hardly helped to reinvigorate their Champions League challenge.
Goals from Landry N'Guemo and Yohann Mollo either side of half-time put St Etienne two up, but Lens fought back thanks to a Yoann Touzghar double, the second a penalty, and fellow replacement Pablo Chavarria gave them a 77th-minute lead.
Lens could not hold on, though, and remained second bottom. The visitors had the first sight of goal when Lalaina Nomenjanahary raced down the right and crossed for Pierrick Valdivia to volley just wide of the left post.
St Etienne went ahead in the 18th minute, Romain Hamouma setting up January signing N'Guemo to fire home a low shot. Mollo had a shot which brushed the bar as the host threatened a second, but at the other end Fabien Lemoine cleared off the line from Ahmed Kantari's header.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel then produced a smart chest trap and shot, forcing Lens goalkeeper Rudy Riou into a brilliant one-handed save. Mollo almost made it two in the 53rd minute, but his shot following a swift counter-attack grazed a post.
However, he did double the hosts' lead four minutes later, scoring from close range after a neat move involving Erdinc and Lemoine. St. Etienne looked to be cruising, but four minutes later Lens were back in it, half-time sub Touzghar rifling the ball home from the edge of the area.
And he made it 2-2 in the 69th minute, firing a penalty down the middle after Kevin Theophile-Catherine had been penalized for handball. Chavarria, who came on in the 64th minute, completed a remarkable turnaround as he slotted home a wonderful drilled low cross from Dimitri Cavare.
However, there was another twist to come as Erdinc curled a left-footed shot into the top corner from the right of the area to ensure his side did not come away empty-handed.