Saint-Etienne held at home by Rennes in Ligue 1

PARIS — Saint-Etienne forward Jonathan Bamba salvaged a 2-2 home draw from the penalty spot against Rennes as the 10-time champions missed the chance to go third in the French league on Sunday.

Oscar Garcia’s team played poorly during an uneventful first half but Saint-Etienne applied more pressure after the interval at Geoffroy Guichard stadium, coming twice from behind.

Saint-Etienne put on an aggressive display early on and Kevin Theophile Catherine escaped a red card at the half-hour mark after a reckless foul on Ismaila Sarr, who was replaced a few minutes later due to injury.

Benjamin Bourigeaud put Rennes in front with a clever lob over ‘keeper Stephane Ruffier in the 41st minute after midfielder Ole Selnaes gave the ball away in front of the area.

Saint-Etienne reacted immediately through Gabriel Silva, who pounced on a cutback pass from captain Loick Perrin

The second half was more entertaining and Theophile Catherine was again at fault in the 53rd when he pushed Firmin Mubele in the back, giving away a penalty converted by Wahbi Khazri.

Bamba levelled with a well-taken penalty kick with 20 minutes left after Rennes goalkeeper Tomas Koubek fouled Lois Diony in the box.

Both teams could have snatched the three points in the final minutes, but Morgan Amalfitano’s shot at the end of a fast counterattack hit Ruffier’s post moments before Saint-Etienne substitute Kevin Monnet-Paquet sent a header on the woodwork.

Saint-Etienne finished with 10 men following Silva’s dismissal in the 90th for a late tackle.

Saint-Etienne is in fourth place, five points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain, which dropped its first points this season in a 0-0 draw at Montpellier on Saturday. Rennes is 13 points off the pace.

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MARSEILLE IMPROVES

Marseille secured a third consecutive win in all competitions with a 2-0 defeat of Toulouse at the Stade Velodrome.

With Dimitri Payet deployed in a true No. 10 role, the attacking trident of Lucas Ocampos, Clinton Njie and Florian Thauvin unsettled the visitors’ defence as Marseille produced its most complete game of the season.

Marseille moved to fifth place, six points behind PSG.

Thauvin broke the deadlock from close range in the first half with his second goal this season. Ocampos provided the assist and the Argentine forward then turned scorer after the ball fell favourably for him from Payet’s corner near the hour mark.

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NANTES WINS AGAIN

Goals from Adrien Thomasson and Leo Dubois gave Nantes a 2-1 win at Strasbourg as the visitors extended their winning streak to three matches.

The result lifted Claudio Ranieri’s side to sixth place, level on points with Marseille.

Both Thomasson and Dubois scored before the interval, something their team had not managed so far this season.

Nuno Da Costa put the hosts in front after 10 minutes.