AS Saint-Etienne drew 2-2 at Ligue 1 strugglers ES Troyes AC with all the goals coming in the first half on Saturday as they missed the chance to leapfrog Olympique de Marseille into third place.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the visitors ahead in the eighth minute with his 17th goal of the season, but Julien Faussurier leveled for Troyes in the 25th.
Forward Brandao put Saint-Etienne back in front six minutes later with a powerful header, only for Benjamin Nivet to hit back for Troyes in the 38th and dent the visitors’ hopes of securing UEFA Champions League soccer next season.
Saint-Etienne, who drew by the same score at Stade Rennais and against Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain in their previous two games, stay fourth with 50 points from 30 games, one less than Marseille, who were due to visit OGC Nice, fifth on 48, yesterday.
Troyes slipped one place to the foot of the table with 25 points, four from the safety zone, after AS Nancy-Lorraine moved above them thanks to a 2-0 victory at 10th-placed Rennes.
Leaders PSG, who beat visiting Montpellier Herault 1-0 on Friday, have 61 points, eight ahead of Olympique Lyonnais, who were due to host Sochaux-Montbeliard yesterday.
“We twice had the lead in a game away ... If we need to score three or four goals in each game to grab a win it will be complicated,” Saint-Etienne midfielder Fabien Lemoine told TV channel Canal Plus.
Coach Christophe Galtier added: “I am not satisfied with the team’s performance during parts of the game. Our defensive work was poor, our teamwork was poor.”
Girondins de Bordeaux’s Ludovic Obraniak snatched a late equalizer at home against Lorient to earn a 1-1 draw and ruin the 30th birthday celebrations of former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere, who had opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half.
Lorient stay eighth on 44 points and Bordeaux ninth on 43.
Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue, who was dropped from the France squad for the first time under Didier Deschamps for this month’s World Cup qualifiers, scored twice and set up another goal to help his midtable side win 3-2 at lowly AC Ajaccio.
Also on Saturday, Stade de Reims held Evian Thonon Gaillard to a 2-2 draw and SC Bastia won a seven-goal thriller at Valenciennes 4-3.
Additional reporting by staff writer