Football: Servette stands up to Lugano

The Garnet hadn’t played for five weeks. They do better than even game with Ticino, who lost the lead in the table with a 1-1 draw.

Daniel Visentini, Geneva

The opening of the score of the Genevans.


Servette left the Praille lawn with a curious feeling. That of having stood up to a Lugano who had come in leader with this 1-1. And that of having missed the boat. Because of the somewhat stupidly conceded equalization. Mainly because of the last seconds and this monumental failure of Kone in the 90th. Followed by another from Ondoua in the 94th minute. Servette will therefore be satisfied with a draw that is ultimately logical in view of the match, but he is advancing at an ant’s pace before going to challenge Sion at Tourbillon on Wednesday evening.

Obviously, after a five-week break, Servette was a bit in the dark. The only four matches played until October 17 were not enough to reassure a team in search of certainty and automation. So when it was necessary to prepare to receive Lugano, who has since become leader, these Ticinese who systematically pose problems for Servette, the Garnet were aware of the challenge: to be solid, compact and if possible efficient in front.

The usual 4-2-3-1 has thus been reworked. Most of the time, the Servettians were articulated in a sort of 4-4-1-1. With the only Kyei in front, with between this attacker and the midfielders Cognat, free electron. Above all: the placements were meticulous, often precise. Faced with these Luganese quick to seize their opportunities, it was necessary.

After a few minutes while Lugano was still moving without a beat, Geiger’s men had a few ideas. Thanks to Cognat. Thanks to Imeri too: what a discount for Sauthier (countered by Guerrero, 18th). Thanks also to Antunes who had just found Imeri with a long ball. Never really dangerous, the Luganese raised a threat by seeking depth, towards Odgaard in the axis, towards Gerndt on the sides.

It was at the end of the first period that the Garnet found the fault. So far, in four matches, two goals scored, both times from penalties. In the 38th, it was on a corner in two stages that they opened the scoring. Sasso had anticipated at the near post to swerve, but he found Kyei on the line. No big deal: the striker made the effort, two steps back to resume in pivot and hit the target in force. Another match would start after the break.

The Ticinese leader, led to the score on one side, strong in his assurances, Servette opposite, clinging to his goal in advance, which combined the collective effort, as against YB more than a month ago. But not with the same success. In the 63rd, it was a cross at the far post which offered Lavanchy the possibility of equalizing. Cognat was no match for the duel, Lavanchy resumed turning around, with a crushed shot that ended in the goals of Frick, deceived. Not pretty, but effective.

A few minutes earlier, when Cespedes had replaced Antunes, Cognat had taken the left flank. He may be comfortable in a 4-2-3-1 on the left, when Servette has the ball. There, the Garnet being pressed by the Ticino, Cognat had to defend the left flank against Lavanchy. Casting error, the Frenchman is not made for that despite all his good will.

Servette had a good chance to regain the advantage just after, with a header from Rouiller from a corner, which Baumann deflected. There were opportunities against, not always well negotiated. But Lugano also had chances of goals: Maric from a corner, Guerrero, Lungoyi, the ex-Servettien. Nice stops from Frick every time.

And then there was this 90th minute, this brilliant flash from the excellent Imeri, a pass in the back of the millimeter defense for Kone, who had replaced Kyei in the 68th. Kone was alone. He didn’t make the final move, once again. For a little more regrets, it was Ondoua again who missed the boat in the 94th minute.

Servette – Lugano 1-1 (1-0)

Stade de Genève, behind closed doors. Arbitre: A. Dudic.

Buts: 38e Kyei 1-0; 63e Lavanchy 1-1.

Napkin: Frick; Sauthier, Rouiller, Sasso, Mendy; Ondoua, Valls (68th Diallo); Imeri Cognat (89th Séverin), Antunes (54th Cespedes); Kyei (68th Kone).

Lugano: Baumann; Kecskes, Maric, Daprela; Custodio; Lavanchy, Macek (76th Covilo), Lovric, Guerrero; Gerndt (76th Ardaiz), Odgaard (57th Lungoyi).

Warnings: 35th Gerndt (hard game), 75th Kone (hard game), 85th Custodio (anti-game), 89th Ondoua (hard game). Notes: Napkin without Stevanovic and Schalk (injured) and without Fofana (suspended). Lugano without Bottani, Sabbatini (injured) and without Guidotti and Oss (convalescent).

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