Soccer-Crowd trouble delays start of St Etienne v Angers match

(Reuters) - The start of St Etienne's home game against Angers in Ligue 1 on Friday was delayed by almost an hour due to crowd trouble after supporters threw flares onto the pitch.

Parts of the playing surface were damaged and the goal nets caught fire as supporters entered the field during the warm-up, eventually forcing the players to return to the changing rooms.

Fans of St Etienne, who are bottom of the league, reportedly displayed banners criticising manager Claude Puel.

Puel had said in the run-up to the game that he was under "no pressure" and hoped supporters would get behind the team.

"We're at home and we must impose pressure on our opponents and not have an atmosphere that undermines our team. For me there's no pressure. I'm entirely focused on what we have to do and how to get the team to perform," he said.

St Etienne fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 thanks to a stoppage-time goal from halftime substitute Mickael Nade and move onto five points from 11 games, while Angers are fourth with 17 points, 10 behind leaders Paris St Germain.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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