ASSE pegged back twice at Troyes
Saint-Etienne remain unbeaten in Ligue 1 in 2013 but left Champagne country frustrated as Troyes equalised twice as it finished 2-2.
ESTAC Troyes 2 - 2 AS Saint-Etienne
Aubameyang on target again
Saint-Etienne went in front in the eighth minute through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 17th league goal of the season. On target in seven league games running before being held at bay by Paris Saint-Germain in Week 29, the Gabonese international forward was back on the goal trail as he reacted fast to nod Josuha Guilavogui's shot past Yohann Thuram-Ulien.
But Troyes, beaten only once in their previous eight league games, levelled in the 25th minute. Fabien Camus' fine pass released Julien Faussurier on the right hand side and Faussurier beat Stéphane Ruffier from a tight angle.
Brandao into double figures
Six minutes later ASSE were in front for the second time. Brazilian forward Brandao, available for the final time before starting a two-match ban, powered a header beyond Thuram-Ulien from Jonathan Brison's excellent left-wing cross. It moved the former Olympique de Marseille hitman into double figures for the league season.
It was an entertaining and spectacular first half between two teams who enjoy playing attacking football and Ruffier had to be alert to keep out a Corentin Jean left-footed effort after the 17-year-old had beaten visiting captain Loïc Perrin to the ball.
Seven minutes before the interval Troyes were level again. Eloge Enza-Yamissi crossed from the left and home playmaker Benjamin Nivet got away from Perrin to plant a header past Ruffier for the 36-year-old's ninth Ligue 1 goal of the campaign.
Brandao and Aubameyang spurned half-chances in the opening minutes of the second half. Christophe Galtier brought on Renaud Cohade to add nous to the visiting midfield and almost immediately the former Valenciennes schemer played a cracking pass for Aubameyang to run on to. The forward cut inside Maxime Colin but fired over.
Hamouma denied by Thuram-Ulien
Romain Hamouma had come on with Cohade on the hour and the quicksilver winger went as close as anyone to scoring the winner, Thuram-Ulien producing a stupendous stop to keep out his powerful volley after more fine service from the left from Brison.
Ultimately the point didn't really suit either side with the games running out for second-bottom Troyes, while ASSE missed out on moving - at least provisionally - into a Champions League qualifying position.