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The game was tight in the opening stages, with both sides struggling to create any chances when going forward.
The visitors troubled the Saint-Etienne defence with a corner delivered to the back post, but Alexy Bosetti couldn't hook the ball back into the area.
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The home side threatened from a corner soon after, but Loic Perrin's header went off target.
Yohan Mollo whipped in a dangerous free kick for Saint-Etienne, but the Nice defence stood firm and cleared well.
Valentin Eysseric had the first shot on target from a free kick, but the effort didn't trouble the goalkeeper, who collected easily.
Josuha Guilavogui worked the space for a decent shot on goal, but the goalkeeper saved well to deny the midfielder.
The home side started the second half strongly and pushed Nice back into their own half as they searched for the first goal.
Nice then shocked the home side when they took the lead on 57 minutes through Mathieu Bodmer, who flicked a header past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
Bodmer almost grabbed a second goal from a cross from the right, however, his touch wasn't enough to take it past the keeper.
Max Gradel cut inside from the wing for Saint-Etienne, but his shot was easily kept out.
The home side almost found an equaliser from a free kick, but Guilavogui's header bounced just over the bar.
Perrin should have made it 1-1 late in the game, but his header was kept out by David Ospina, who pulled off an impressive save to palm clear.
Saint-Etienne were given a huge chance in injury time when the referee awarded a penalty and sent off Nice's Didier Digard for a deliberate handball.
Gradel stepped up and converted the penalty to make it 1-1 and secure a late point.