Dour draw leaves France hanging onto lead
France saw their lead in Euro 2012 qualifying Group D cut to a single point after the most lacklustre of goalless draws in Bucharest.

In a game miserably short on goalmouth action, Franck Ribery missed the group pacesetters' best chance - and they were relieved when Romania's Banel Nicolita headed wide from close range.

The result, coupled with Bosnia-Herzegovina's second win in four days over nine-man Belarus, left Laurent Blanc's side with the narrowest lead over a Bosnia side who provide the opposition at the Stade de France in the final game of the group.

Before that, the two sides face respective home encounters with Albania and Luxembourg on October 7 - neither of which should present a significant challenge, meaning the Paris meeting four days later looks set to decide the destination of the automatic qualification berth for next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

A drab first half featured only two efforts on goal, the first coming in the 13th minute when Cristian Tanase's foul on Bacary Sagna handed France an opportunity from a free-kick. Tanase was shown the yellow card for his indiscretion before Marvin Martin's delivery was headed over the bar by Karim Benzema.

A similar period elapsed between that chance and Romania's response, which saw Nicolita's free-kick clear the crossbar after Yann M'Vila was booked for fouling Costin Lazar. The ball was adjudged to have touched a French player en route, but Nicolita's corner also came to nothing.

Romania keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu easily gathered Martin's corner as both sides struggled to create any chances of note.

PAOK Salonika midfielder Lazar failed to make it to half-time as injury saw him replaced by Bogdan Stancu.

Spectators hoping the second half would begin with new-found vigour were disappointed, with an early French attack halted when Eric Abidal, up from the back, was penalised for handball.

Romania's Razvan Cocis collected the game's third booking for a show of dissent before the first shot of the half came when France midfielder Yohan Cabaye lashed the ball over the bar from outside the penalty area shortly after the hour mark.

Ribery found a more promising position five minutes later, but the Bayern Munich winger curled his left-footed shot wide of the far post after cutting in from the right flank. Dorin Goian was then yellow carded for a foul on Martin.

It was Nicolita, though, who missed the best chance of the game with a little less than a quarter of an hour remaining. The St Etienne midfielder was picked out six yards from goal on the right side of the box but failed to direct his header on target and the visitors breathed a sigh of relief.

Nicolita then followed team-mate Goian into the book with eight minutes remaining, the last incident of note as a forgettable encounter petered out into stalemate.
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