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St-Étienne draw blank again in Inter stalemate

FC Internazionale Milano 0-0 AS Saint-Étienne
Both sides are yet to concede in the group stage after the visitors earned a third successive scoreless Group F draw in Milan.

Franck Tabanou (left) tussles with Inter's Ibrahima Mbaye
Franck Tabanou (left) tussles with Inter's Ibrahima Mbaye ©AFP/Getty Images

• Inter top Group F after goalless draw in Milan 
• Visitors closest in even first period through Franck Tabanou free-kick 
• Neither side able to grab winner in open second half
• Third successive 0-0 draw for St-Étienne in group
Next games: St-Étienne v Inter (6 November)

AS Saint-Étienne earned a third consecutive goalless draw in Group F by holding section leaders FC Internazionale Milano in Italy.

With neither team having conceded in their opening two matches it was no surprise that things were cagey early on as both sides struggled to find space and create good opportunities. Inter had the first chance after 12 minutes when a good pass from former Verts midfielder Fredy Guarín put Mauro Icardi through with only Stéphane Ruffier to beat but the striker fired over and wide from a promising position.

Ruffier then did well to rush out and block Guarín from close with his body after the Colombian international had slipped his marker in the St-Étienne box. At the other end Kévin Théophile-Catherine just missed the target with his header from Franck Tabanou's corner from the right.

The French outfit went close again on the stroke of half-time but Inter goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo dived well to his right to palm wide a powerful free-kick by Tabanou which seemed destined for the top corner. The second half was more entertaining with both teams trying to break the deadlock. Zdravko Kuzmanović forced Ruffier into a difficult save with a low shot from inside the box, while Tabanou and Romain Hamouma tested Carrizo from good positions in quick succession.

Inter substitute Hernanes tried his luck from distance two minutes from time but was repelled by Ruffier as Inter had to settle for a point after starting the group stage with two straight victories.