A draw at Club Brugge KV was enough to seal AS Saint-Etienne's place in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 with seven points from their three Group G games.
Draw is enough
David Gigliotti put the French side ahead just before the interval as Alain Perrin's men put their miserable Ligue 1 form behind them. Though Ronald Vargas brought the hosts level just after the break, a draw was enough to ensure a top-three finish in the section, while a victory at home against Valencia CF in their final group stage game would see them win the group.
Off the bar
St Etienne approached the game in poor form, having lost their last seven domestic league games, but European football once more brought the best out of them with Paulo Machado and Gigliotti carving out early chances. Nonetheless, Belgian league leaders Club Brugge almost opened the scoring on 14 minutes with Nabil Dirar's effort from the right striking the crossbar.
Yohan Benalouane later shot over from Kevin Mirallas's free-kick for the French side before Wesley Sonck had an effort gathered by Jérémie Janot in the St Etienne goal. The teams were looking destined to finish on level terms at half-time, only for St Etienne to take a 44th minute lead. Blaise Matuidi's ball from the left picked out former French Under-21 international Gigliotti, and he put a right-footed shot into the bottom left of the goal from six metres out.
The lead did not last long, with the hosts equalising five minutes after half-time when Vargas was fouled by Daisuke Matsui and the midfielder scored with a left-footed shot from Ivan Leko's free-kick. However, Club Brugge had goalkeeper Stijn Stijnen to thank for earning them their second point in the section. He saved with his feet from Dimitri Payet with 20 minutes to go, and parried Bafétimbi Gomis's shot in added time before saving fellow substitute Ilan's follow-up.