Honours even in Toulouse
By A. Scott
Toulouse FC and AS Saint-Etienne shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw at Le Stadium on Sunday.
Toulouse FC 0 - 0 AS Saint-Etienne
Saint-Etienne were eager to get back on track after a miserable last week in which they had lost at home to Montpellier Hérault SC and then been eliminated from the Coupe de la Ligue on penalties at RC Strasbourg Alsace. Óscar García has bemoaned his side's lack of a goal threat this season and that was laid bare here in south-western France as they struggled to create chances.
The visitors only threatened once in the first half, when Hernani's flighted ball released Romain Hamouma, who rounded Alban Lafont but was only able to find the side-netting from a tightening angle (12').
Toulouse, who lost François Moubandje to injury in the opening period, had more of the game and threatened a couple of times before the break. When Kévin Théophile Catherine headed out Andy Delort's free-kick, Corentin Jean was there to send in a powerful shot that was beaten away by Stéphane Ruffier (36'), while Christopher Jullien had a header cleared off the line by Jonathan Bamba (44').
Again the game was mostly Toulouse's in the second half, but it was Saint-Etienne who had the clearest opportunities to win it, with Lafont denying both Hamouma (78') and substitute Kévin Monnet-Paquet (85').
Unbeaten in five in all competitions, Toulouse are safely ensconced in mid-table. Saint-Etienne have won just once in six now and are four points behind third-placed Olympique Lyonnais, who they face next.
THE PLAYER: Christopher Jullien
In a scrappy affair, the giant centre-back Jullien was head and shoulders above most other players on the field, in his element as he moppped up the high balls and stuck out his long legs to deny Saint-Etienne time and again. He was unlucky not to score with a first-half header that was cleared off the line. That is now three straight clean sheets for him and the Toulouse defence.
THE STAT: 5
This was just the fifth goalless draw in Ligue 1 Conforama this season, and the first since Montpellier and Paris Saint-Germain played out a 0-0 stalemate on September 23.