AS Saint-Etienne missed the chance to leapfrog Olympique de Marseille into third spot in the French League on Friday, settling for a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Stade Rennais in what was a dress rehearsal for next month’s League Cup final.
Les Verts made it 13 games unbeaten in all competitions this year and the former giants of the French game look a good bet for a European berth of some kind.
However, Christophe Galtier’s team had to make do with a single point after twice coming from behind against a Rennes side with top six ambitions of their own.
Romain Danze headed Rennes in front on the stroke of halftime after the hosts had had an earlier effort ruled out for a foul by John Boye on goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, who dropped the ball over his own line.
There was still time for the visitors to level before the interval as Yohan Mollo fired in after teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had missed his kick.
Six minutes after the restart, Julien Feret put Rennes back in front only for Mollo to set up a neat finish for Aubameyang in the 66th minute, the French-born Gabonese striker netting for the seventh consecutive league match.
Saint-Etienne, now winless in seven visits to Rennes, have 48 points from 28 games, one behind Marseille, who take on second-placed Lyon at the Stade de Gerland today.
Olympique Lyonnais are two points adrift of league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who were expected to beat struggling AS Nancy-Lorraine at home yesterday with David Beckham possibly in their starting line-up after he was rested for their Champions League tussle with Valencia in midweek, which earned the capital club a quarter-final berth.
Marseille are three points adrift of Lyon as they chase a top three finish, bringing with it Champions League soccer next season.
Rennes lie in provisional eighth place, six points behind Saint-Etienne.
Additional reporting by Staff writer