Saint-Etienne settle for road draw
Montpellier's troubled Ligue 1 title defence continued this evening as they emerged with a fortunate point from their home clash with Saint-Etienne.
The visiting side dominated with a string of goalscoring chances, but only had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal on the stroke of half-time to show for their efforts. Saint-Etienne's inability to finish the game off was punished by the hosts, who claimed a share of the spoils courtesy of Souleymane Camara's strike in the 70th minute.
The draw leaves Saint-Etienne eighth in the standings, while Montpellier sit in 14th having won just one of their first six games. Montpellier were beaten by Arsenal in their UEFA Champions League opener on Tuesday night, and their hopes of enjoying a morale-boosting win tonight were quickly dashed as Saint-Etienne began brightly.
Fabien Lemoine was the first to go close for the visitors with a volley that was charged down by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the sixth minute. Montpellier threatened briefly as Anthony Mounier saw his overhead kick saved by Stephane Ruffier, but the rest of the half belonged to the visitors. In the 35th minute, Banel Nicolita's shot was charged down, Yanga-Mbiwa putting his body on the line again, and in the 43rd minute Aubameyang should have broken the deadlock when he was played in Romain Hamouma, but hit the post with only Geoffrey Jourdren to beat.
The Gabon striker was more accurate moments later when he applied the finishing touch at the far post after Max Gradel had dispossessed the home defence and sent over a telling cross. Jourdren kept out Hamouma's 49th-minute header as Saint-Etienne threatened to extend their lead, and the home goalkeeper was also called on to turn away Gradel's chest down and volley.
In the 66th minute, Aubameyang attempted to lob Jourdren but the goalkeeper made the save, and Saint-Etienne's failure to convert their chances was punished moments later when a flowing team move by the hosts ended with Remy Cabella crossing for Camara, who drilled a firm left-footed effort low into the net.
Saint-Etienne might have snatched a deserved win three minutes into injury time when Aubameyang's corner was met by Brandao, but his header flashed just wide.