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Debutants Qarabağ denied by St-Étienne

Qarabağ FK 0-0 AS Saint-Étienne
Reynaldo missed a number of good chances as the hosts missed out on a win on their UEFA Europa League group stage debut.

Reynaldo spurned a number of openings for Qarabağ
Reynaldo spurned a number of openings for Qarabağ ©AFP/Getty Images

• Qarabağ earn point on UEFA Europa League group stage debut 
Hosts well on top but fail to find way past St-Étienne in Group F opener
• Reynaldo has three openings for Qarabağ but cannot find net
• Stéphane Ruffier on top form in visiting goal
• Next games: Inter v Qarabağ, St-Étienne v Dnipro (2 October)

Qarabağ FK failed to become the first Azerbaijani side to win a major UEFA club competition group stage fixture after missing a host of good chances in their Group F opening draw with AS Saint-Étienne.

Despite an expectant full stadium, as the club made their maiden appearance in the group stage, the hosts started nervously and Max-Alain Gradel proved an immediate danger for the visitors. The No7's darting run eventually led to a free-kick, which he then whipped over the wall only to see it pushed away by Ibrahim Šehić. Gradel then came agonisingly close to connecting with a cross five metres from goal.

The early nerves soon evaporated, however, and the home side were quickly on the front foot. Maksim Medvedev cut in from the right and forced Stéphane Ruffier – at full stretch – to paw wide his curling effort, before Reynaldo stretched, but not far enough, as he attempted to turn a low cross into an open net.

Ruffier was kept busy before the break, beating away Chumbinho's shot from range and an angled effort from Reynaldo, while Medvedev headed over.

The pattern continued after the restart as substitute Vüqar Nadirov drove straight at the visiting keeper, before Reynaldo sent another effort off target, prodding over from ten metres. The Brazilian almost made up for that miss with a darting, jinking run in from the left that left three men in his wake, but Ruffier smothered at his feet to ensure a point for Les Verts.

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