St Etienne edge clear of relegation
St Etienne edged a point further clear of the relegation zone and left Rennes still searching for their first Ligue 1 win of the year after the two played out a goalless draw on Tuesday.
Rennes went closest to breaking the deadlock through Sylvain Marveaux's first-half effort which came back off the post. St Etienne also had goalkeeper Jeremie Janot to thank for a stunning save to deny Moussa Sow as the home side increased their cushion over the bottom three to four points and dented their opponents' European push.
The hosts might even have pinched victory at the death, only for Rennes stopper Nicolas Douchez to save Boubacar Sanogo's effort with his foot. The hosts had the first effort of the game as Dimitri Payet brought a save out of Douchez with a shot from outside the penalty area.
Janot made his first contribution in the 19th minute to excellently keep out Abdou Kader Mangane's header from Marveaux's corner. Marveaux went for goal himself in the 25th minute after bustling past Yohann Andreu and Payet, but his left-footed effort crashed against the left post.
St Etienne threatened before the break though, as Payet's long ball released Kevin Mirallas, but his volley could not find the net. Janot kept his side level three minutes after the break.
Rod Fanni picked out Petter Hansson at the far post and the defender headed the ball back for Sow to fire an instant shot which Janot somehow managed to keep out. Loic Perrin had a cross-shot blocked and Guirane N'Daw fired a free-kick straight at Douchez as the hosts started to gain the upper hand.
At the other end Sow fed substitute Ismael Bangoura, whose angled shot went wide. And St Etienne almost claimed a winner in the 89th minute as, following Bakary Sako's cross from the left, Sanogo struck a low shot which Douchez managed to deflect away with his boot.