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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Marseille slow down in title race with goalless draw at Lorient


Marseille failed to keep up with the top two sides in the league title race as they were forced to a 0-0 draw at Lorient in the French Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Igor Tudor’s side have lost four precious points in two recent league matches as they drew with mid-table Montpellier 1-1 at home last week.

“It’s disappointing. The match was within our grasp, but we were lacking when it mattered most,” Marseille midfielder Matteo Guendouzi said.

“There’s no pressure, there’s still a lot of matches,” the French international added.

Table-topping Paris Saint Germain bounced back from two consecutive home defeats to notch a 2-0 win at Nice on Saturday, maintaining a six-point lead ahead of Lens, who beat Strasbourg 2-1 at home on Friday. Marseille sit third, two more points behind.

Both sides created some chances but failed to convert them. Marseille staved off a blow before the final whistle when Lorient striker Bamba Dieng went close to scoring a winner against his former club.

Earlier in the day, Lyon came from one goal down to beat Rennes 3-1, moving three points behind the Breton side in the sixth spot.

Laurent Blanc’s side are still fighting for a place in next season’s continental competitions as the fifth finishers of the French League could participate in the Europa Conference League qualifiers.

Former Lyon forward Amine Gouiri opened the scoring for Rennes in the 11th minute. Midfielder Corentin Tolisso fired from 20 meters in the 60th minute to hit an equalizer before Alexandre Lacazette volleyed home eight minutes later with his 18th goal of the season, only one behind joint top scorers Kylian Mbappe of PSG and Jonathan David of Lille.

“You always have to believe,” said Blanc. “The last match of a series of three in a week is often the most physically difficult to play, and after Wednesday’s (French Cup) disappointment, the first half could be explained by mental fatigue.”

“Rennes took advantage of it and could have taken advantage of it more. I am very satisfied, especially since I was angry at half-time.”

Talented young forward Bradley Barcola, who stroked the winner last week against PSG, made it 3-1 in the 79th.

In another action, Monaco squandered a two-goal lead to concede a 2-2 draw against an in-form Nantes, who have saw off Lyon in the French Cup semifinal to stay on track in defending the title.

Axel Disasi and Eliot Matazo’s goals secured Monaco a comfortable 2-0 lead before the break. But Egypt international Mostafa Mohamed responded with a header midway through the second half to lift the morale of the hosts as fellow substitute Ludovic Blas nodded in an equalizer in the 78th minute to wreck Monaco’s victory.

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