PARIS (Reuters) - Monaco’s late Ligue 1 title challenge stalled on Friday when the principality side were held to a 1-1 home draw by St Etienne.
Monaco substitute Anthony Martial cancelled out Mevlut Erding’s second-half opener for the visitors, who had the best chances in a tight encounter at Louis II.
The result left Monaco, who will have a game in hand after this weekend’s matches, in fourth place with 54 points from 30 games, five points behind leaders Paris St Germain.
Champions PSG visit third-placed Olympique de Marseille, who are two points off the npace on 57, on Sunday.
St Etienne, who came close to taking all three points in added time when Francois Clerc’s rising long-range shot shaved the post, stayed fifth with 53 points from 31 games.
“We’re a bit disappointed but it’s important to take a point with the Europa League in mind,” Erding told BeIN Sport.
Monaco’s Martial added: “We started badly and failed to create chances but the most important thing was not to lose”.
In a game featuring the league’s best two defences, Monaco dominated possession but St Etienne got the first chance with Danijel Subasic parrying Fabien Lemoine’s angled shot at the near post in the 17th minute.
Eight minutes later, Kevin Monnet-Pacquet had a clear chance but shot straight at Subasic from close range.
Les Verts, who had won their last three league games, snatched a deserved opener in the 62nd minute when Erding headed into the top corner from Franck Tabanou’s cross.
Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim brought on Martial for Matheus Carvalho in the 66th minute and the forward made an immediate impact by scoring two minutes later with a fine volley.
It was the first shot on target for Monaco, who had taken 13 points from their previous five Ligue 1 matches.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris