Saint-Etienne lose ground in race for Euro spot, draw Nice

St Etienne's Ivorian forward Max-Alain Gradel (L) is congratulated by his teammates.

PARIS (AP) — Saint-Etienne lost ground in the race for a Champions League spot by drawing at home with mid-table Nice 1-1 in the French league on Sunday.

Nice centerback Mathieu Bodmer nodded home a corner in the 58th minute but Saint-Etienne substitute Max-Alain Gradel salvaged a point by converting a penalty in the last minute after Nice midfielder Didier Digard was red-carded for blocking a goal attempt from Josuha Guilavogui with his hand.

Saint-Etienne trails third-place Lille by five points.

Lyon kept its hopes for a European spot alive by edging relegation-threatened Valenciennes 2-1.

Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis opened the scoring with a low effort in the 30th but Valenciennes striker Majeed Waris equalized in the 66th. Jordan Ferri restored Lyon’s lead with a powerful long-range strike in the 69th.

Valenciennes was down to 10 men in the 84th when Marco Da Silva was red-carded for clattering into Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette.

Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes preserved the win by stopping a penalty from Waris in the 86th after Maor Melikson’s cross hit Ferri’s arm.

Lyon pulled within four points of fourth-place Saint-Etienne.