Saint-Etienne 1-1 Lazio: Biancocelesti held in final group game
Saint-Etienne drew with Lazio 1-1 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Thursday evening in Group G of the Europa League.
Alessandro Matri opened the scoring with a close-range finish before Valentin Eysseric slammed home the equaliser.
Both sides had already secured qualification through to the knockout stages of the competition, with the Biancocelesti already guaranteed top spot in the group.
The French home team still began with every intention of claiming all three points in front of their own fans, Benjamin Corgnet heading far and wide over the crossbar from a free-kick.
Lazio’s Matri was handed the best chance of the opening 20 minutes, striking a fierce shot against the side netting when a better option to square the ball to his teammate was on.
Saint-Etienne hit back soon after with a well-hit strike from Corgnet but the effort was saved by Etrit Berisha.
The Italians should have been ahead just five minutes into the second-half, yet Matri could only poke his chance wide but the striker would not be denied just 60 seconds later.
The 31-year-old lifted the ball beautifully over Jessy Moulin before gobbling up the loose ball from all of three yards.
Filip Djordevic then should have handed his side a two-goal cushion when catching a cross on the volley but he somehow diverted it past the post.
Despite the fast paced start featuring the game’s opening goal, there was little of any major chances to note, with only Jean-Christophe Bahebeck coming close.
That all changed with just 15 minutes remaining, Eysseric crashing home a long-range leveller that left Berisha flabbergasted.
The result made no change to the standings, with Lazio finishing first and Saint-Etienne second to cap off a strong group stage for both sides.