Saint-Etienne's UEFA Champions League ambitions suffered a blow tonight as they were held to a goalless draw by mid-table Bordeaux.
The Coupe de la Ligue winners had the better chances but they were upstaged by visiting goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso, who was equal to everything thrown at him. The draw leaves Saint-Etienne fourth in the table, one point behind the top three and Champions League qualifying places, while Bordeaux ground out their third successive draw in Ligue 1.
The hosts, unbeaten in ten league matches, endured a nervy start at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped settle the side after 23 minutes when he raced on to a through-ball from Josuha Guilavogui only to lose out in a duel with Carrasso.
Aubameyang came even closer to scoring on the half-hour but this time put his cross-shot inches past the post after being teed up by Romain Hamouma. Saint-Etienne continued to push forward in numbers and Hamouma was the next to try his luck, holding off two defenders before smashing a 20-yard drive which was palmed away by Carrasso. And a corner from Fabien Lemoine soon after almost left Henri Saivet red-faced, with the Bordeaux forward's attempted clearance hitting the bar before the danger was averted.
The home side picked up where they had left off after the interval and Hamouma freed Guilavogui, who unleashed a first-time strike which was on course for the top corner until Carrasso's intervention. The Bordeaux keeper was in inspired form and came to the fore again after 58 minutes to turn away a header from Brandao.
Bordeaux had done all of the defending so far but they gave their opponents an almighty scare in the 74th minute when Jaroslav Plasil delivered a great ball to Julien Faubert, whose right-footed strike dipped just over the goal. Time was running out for Saint-Etienne to get the points they needed to move up to third, but a frustrating evening was summed up when Aubameyang's angled drive hit the side-netting.