St. Etienne settles for draw with Valenciennes

St. Etienne wasted an opportunity to move to within one point of second place in Ligue 1 on Friday after settling for a scoreless draw with Valenciennes at the Stade du Hainaut.

Les Verts entered Friday's clash riding a 13-match unbeaten run in league play, and while the result extends that marvelous run of form to 14 straight without a loss, St. Etienne had opportunism to claim all three points.

Both teams found chances few and far between in the first half, but St. Etienne had the best chance on the stroke of halftime as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ripped a shot from outside the box, but he barely missed the right post.

St. Etienne's best chance to break the deadlock came in the 74th minute when Fabian Lemoine collected a pass from Faouzi Ghoulam and unleashed a right- footed shot from outside the penalty area, but Valenciennes goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau read the shot well and kept it out of the bottom right corner.

The result leaves Les Verts in third place with 54 points from 32 matches, while Valenciennes remains in 13th place with 37 points.

In one of the most anticipated ties of the Champions League season, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona battled to a 3-3 aggregate draw after Wednesday's second leg at the Camp Nou.

Unfortunately for the French side, Barcelona went through on the away goal tiebreaker and PSG president Nassir Al-Khelaifi took the opportunity to reflect on what his club had accomplished with a letter to the fans.

"I want to express to you the tremendous pride we feel the day after our match against Barcelona at their home ground, the Camp Nou. I am sure that we each have great memories of it," he said.

"We are immensely grateful to everyone who has a passion for Paris Saint- Germain, from the many fans who accompanied us to Barcelona and get behind us at the Parc des Princes, and our supporters across France and throughout the world, to the club's partners, who have decided to throw their lot in with us, and to all those who will join us in ever greater numbers in our future conquests in France and Europe."

PSG will be disappointed in the outcome of Wednesday's match, but they have reason to be very proud of how far they advanced, and must now turn their attention back to the domestic campaign.

On the home front, PSG resumes its Ligue 1 schedule with a tilt against bottom-of-the-table Troyes on Saturday at the Stade de l'Aube.

Les Rogue-et-Bleu are riding a four-match unbeaten run in league play and can extend their lead atop the table to 10 points with a victory.

Also on Saturday, relegation-battling Nancy looks to climb out of the bottom three with a victory against Ajaccio, while defending champions Montpellier will be out to claim their second straight victory with a win against Bordeaux at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

19th-place Brest hopes to put the brakes on a five-game winless run when the club hosts Reims at the Stade Francis-Le Ble.

Evian hosts Rennes, while Saturday wraps up with Lorient hosting Bastia.

Sixth-place Nice kicks off Sunday's slate against Sochaux, while Marseille and Lyon will both look to gain ground on PSG.

Marseille travels to the Grand Stade Lille Metropole to face Lille, while fourth-place Lyon hosts Toulouse.