Saint-Etienne just about secured their place in the Europa League round of 32 after their Group C clash with Mainz ended goalless at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Thursday.
Saint-Etienne 0 Mainz 0
Visitors create the better chances
Ruffier makes five saves on the night
Tannane hits post late on for ASSE
Hosts on brink of round of 32
Martin Schmidt’s side looked more dangerous on the night but they could not breach the home defence, despite creating 18 chances.
Les Verts nearly found an unlikely late winner, though, when Oussama Tannane struck the frame of the goal.
The visitors made the better start as they looked to keep alive their chances of advancing to the knockout stages.
Jhon Cordoba headed just wide of the target from Levin Oztunali’s seventh-minute cross and Yunus Malli tested home keeper Stephane Ruffier with a shot from distance moments later.
Oztunali then dragged his effort wide of the far post from the right in the 12th minute, before ASSE created their first chance four minutes later when Tannane forced Jonas Lossl into a save with his strike from inside the box.
The hosts threatened again on 19 minutes as Nolan Roux sent his header wide from Florentin Pogba’s cross, while Cordoba was denied from outside the area by Ruffier soon afterwards at the opposite end.
Pogba couldn’t keep his header down from a Jordan Veretout cross midway through the first half, and Karim Onisiwo wasted two chances for Die Nullfunfer as he failed to trouble the keeper with a shot and then a header.
The final opportunity of the first half saw Malli work Ruffier again with a shot from outside the box in the 44th minute, while Cordoba steered his header over the crossbar from Andre Ramalho’s cross two minutes after the restart.
Ruffier was called into action soon afterwards as he stopped an effort from Oztunali on the right-hand side of the box, with the Bundesliga club continuing to dictate play.
The match became stop-start with a number of fouls from both teams, and the next chance only arrived on 73 minutes when Cordoba drew a fine save out of Ruffier with a close-range header.
Christophe Galtier’s men hadn’t offered anything going forward after the break, but they almost snatched a late winner through Tannane, who hit the far post from inside the area on the right with eight minutes remaining.