On Sunday night, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, on loan from Norwich City, became a hero for the Saint-Etienne fans when his third goal of the season helped the home side beat their fierce rivals Lyon 3-0, ending a 20-year-curse.
Etienne Mendy was the hero the last time Saint-Etienne beat Lyon at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard. Van Wolfswinkel put Les Verts 2-0 up before half-time and his name will go down in the club's folklore for all-time.
The former FC Utrecht and Sporting Lisbon striker follows in the footsteps of Johnny Rep and Kees Rijveers as being the third Dutchman to score a goal in the Rhone derby.
With Turkish forward Mevlut Erding out injured, Van Wolfswinkel was given the nod from Christophe Galtier and nearly opened the scoring when he turned Max Gradel’s cross against the far post.
He didn’t get the best of contact on the ball, but it had goalkeeper Anthony Lopes beaten, but both could only watch as it struck the outside of the post.
The atmosphere at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard erupted when defender, Mustapha Bayal Sall, on his birthday, lost his marker to power home Gradel’s excellent corner-kick. No one could stop the centre-back and his header thundered past Lopes.
It was the first goal Saint-Etienne had scored in the first 30 minutes of a Ligue 1 game this season, and there was no looking back.
Just as Lyon were getting back into the game, Sainte made it 2-0. Milan Bisevac mis-judged the bounce of the ball down the left-flank; Gradel spun onto the ball and broke into the box. The former Leeds United forward squared to Van Wolfswinkel and the Dutchman couldn’t miss.
Despite Lyon starting the second-half fairly well, they couldn’t get a goal back and a mistake from Corentin Tolisso let Renaud Cohade in to seal the 3-0 win. Late on Alexandre Lacazette missed a penalty and hit the post.
When it’s not your night, it’s not your night.
Saint-Etienne and Van Wolfswinkel couldn’t have asked for a better night. Even if Les Verts go another 20 years without beating their rivals at home, his name will go down in history as one of the heroes that ended the dreaded curse.