France are now three points adrift of Spain in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group I after being held in Georgia.
Les Bleus lost valuable ground when they were beaten at home by Spain in March, the start of what is now a five-game goalless run. They need a positive result in Belarus on Tuesday, well aware that Spain have two home games left to play in October.
Didier Deschamps elected to start with an unprecedented 4-4-2 with Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud up front fed by Mathieu Valbuena on the right and Franck Ribéry on the left. Ribéry was France's last goalscorer when they beat Georgia 3-1 on 22 March and was the main threat for a harried Giorgi Loria from the off, sending a low effort wide of the goalkeeper's upright.
Benzema, who has now yet to score for France for 1,217 minutes, was denied by Loria from an angled shot. Jaba Kankava's off-target volley on 18 minutes gave the home side hope and Tomike Okriashvili tested Hugo Lloris.
Three minutes into the second half Okriashvili found only the post from close range after his initial attempt had been repelled by Lloris. With André-Pierre Gignac on for Benzema for his first cap since 2010, France launched a late charge. Ribéry's venomous strike was parried by Loria, who then flicked Bakari Sagna's header on to his left post in added time.