Saint-Etienne's drive for Champions League stalls after draw with Rennes
April 20, 2014, 12:25 am TWN
SAINT-ETIENNE, France--Saint-Etienne's bid for a Champions League spot stalled as it drew 0-0 with Rennes in the French league on Friday.
The hosts struggled to create chances, although Saint-Etienne winger Romain Hamouma headed in a cross from Benoit Tremoulinas in the 64th minute but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Paris Saint-Germain tops the standings with a 10-point lead over Monaco.
Saint-Etienne stayed in fourth place, six points behind Lille which has a game in hand.
“We must protect that fourth place,” Saint-Etienne defender Moustapha Bayal Sall said. “We must not lose our remaining matches.”
Rennes is nine points above the relegation zone and will face Guingamp in the French Cup final on May 3 after edging Angers 3-2 on Tuesday.
“It's a very important point,” Rennes midfielder Jean Makoun said. “It brings us closer to safety.”
Saint-Etienne dominated possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances until forward Max-Alain Gradel pounced on a poor clearance from the Rennes defense in the 44th to send a shot straight into goalkeeper Benoit Costil's arms.
Mevlut Erding escaped marking in the 51st to control a loose ball but Costil tipped his low strike around the post.
“We certainly lacked accuracy in the final ball because we made numerous crosses,” Saint-Etienne captain Loic Perrin said.
On Sunday, it's: Monaco vs. Nice; Bastia vs. Ajaccio; Bordeaux vs. Guingamp; Lorient vs. Montpellier; Reims vs. Sochaux; Valenciennes vs. Nantes; and Marseille vs. Lille.
On Wednesday, PSG hosts Evian and Lyon visits Toulouse.