To keep the hope of a hypothetical maintenance, the Vaudois no longer have the right to make mistakes. An obstacle course that starts this Monday in La Tuilière, against Lugano (4.30 pm).
The four accumulated points in their last two encounters – against Servette and Young Boys – brought Lausanne-Sport out of the deep coma it had been plunged into since the beginning of the year. Unexpected signs of life sparked a timid hope among his supporters to oust FC Lucerne in extremis from this play-off place that has long been the only lifeline for the Vaudois to avoid a Challenge League fall.
But with seven lengths down and only seven games left, the goal still seems almost an illusion. Especially since the LS still has valid men. “In addition to Mory Diaw, Alain Casanova sighs, Elton Monteiro has also been suspended. And in Bern we lost Pollero and maybe Alakouch and Mahou. However, there is still a small hope of recovery for these two players who have only been able to train with the group since Saturday. Add to that the usual long-term residents of the Tuilière Infirmary and you’ll better understand the emergency at all levels that Casanova must manage.
Lugano aims for podium
Putting together a team that can talk on an equal footing with FC Lugano who is aiming for the podium and has remained unbeaten on the road since February 13 (defeat in Zurich against the future champions) therefore already seems very complicated. “Yes, it’s a real headache, admits the French technician, but there’s no point in complaining. The most important players for me are those who are available on Monday. In our situation it is essential to stay positive.
Like, for example, thinking that the LS still has its fate between its feet. With seven new wins for a total of 38 points – the same as Thun and Sion, their ninth in the past two years – the play-off spot would be 99% for him. “We have to remain realistic and not look too far ahead,” Alain Casanova tempers. Nothing will be easy against Lugano. It is a very homogeneous and solid group that has the means to finish the championship on the podium. That’s why I don’t think this semi-final of the cup, which they play three days later, will have the slightest influence on their motivation to take the three points in La Tuilière.
In other words, to make ends meet, the Vaudois can only count on themselves, without hoping for the help of an opponent who is a little demobilized on Monday. To take a second win in three games – a first this season – they must pray that Zeki Amdouni continues his impressive streak of six goals in the last four games. “Zeki confirms his great qualities at the highest level every week,” said his coach. But he also knows very well that nothing would be possible without the help of his teammates. He therefore puts himself at the service of the collective and his contribution is not limited to the goals he scores.
Not more optimistic and not more pessimistic
Perhaps, but Lausanne’s attacking power can be summed up almost exclusively by the talent at the completion of his best element. Since Alain Casanova took over in early February, LS has scored ten goals in eleven games, including the Swiss Cup. More than half of that was the work of Amdouni alone. Six goals are added to two penalties converted by Kukuruzovic, a success from Sanches, without much importance, in the Lake Geneva derby, and this miraculous equalizer by Ouattara in extra time in Bern last weekend. A goal that is only the young Ivorian striker’s third this season, and the first since… 31 July.
“These four points that we have recently taken do us a lot of good, but do not change the facts of the problem,” concludes Alain Casanova. Today I am no more optimistic or pessimistic than two weeks ago about our chances of survival. I just hope we continue the same good dynamics, even if everything is still fragile at home.