Ligue 1

St. Etienne loses ground in title chase

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Saint-Etienne remained undefeated this year by drawing 0-0 with Valenciennes in the French league on Friday but it missed an opportunity to make up ground in the race for a Champions League spot.

Saint-Etienne pulled within three points of second-place Marseille. However, it could lose third place if Lyon or Lille win on Sunday. Lyon will host Toulouse while Marseille visits Lille.

''It was a difficult match tonight,'' Saint-Etienne defender Jonathan Brison said. ''We're coming away with a point and we're stretching our unbeaten run, so we're quite happy.''

Saint-Etienne was lucky to see Valenciennes substitute Vincent Aboubakar miss the target from 12 yards in the 90th minute.

Valenciennes extended its winless streak to eight games to stay in 13th place.

In the first half, Valenciennes had the best scoring chance in the 28th minute with a curling shot from Gael Danic that Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier saved. Saint-Etienne was never really able to trouble the Valenciennes defense, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's long-range effort sailed wide on the stroke of halftime.

Paris Saint-Germain tops the standings with a seven-point lead over Marseille, and will play Troyes on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, it's: Ajaccio vs. Nancy; Bordeaux vs. Montpellier; Brest vs. Reims; Evian vs. Rennes; and Lorient vs. Bastia.

On Sunday, Nice faces Sochaux.

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