Lorient and Marseille draw, neither gain ground in Ligue 1 table.

Going into Lorient, Marseille had the opportunity pull within one point of league leaders Lille. But Lorient, who plays on synthetic turf, haven’t lost at home since September, and looked to continue that streak against the defending champions. But in the end, both teams played to a 2-2 draw in what could be considered one of the best Ligue 1 matches of the season.

In the opening minutes of the match, Lorient, who were suffering from some key injuries, didn’t let the fact that they are playing the defending Ligue 1 champions phase them. In the first ten minutes, Both Kevin Gameiro and Morgan Amalfitano were able to penetrate deep into OM territory, giving the home side the offensive momentum.

But while the offense of Lorient where able to continue to pressure, the same could not be said for the defense, which, on a number of occasions, missed tackles and gave OM a number of chances on goal.

The faults in the Lorient defense were exposed quite early in the match, as Marseille striker Loic Remy blew past defender Bruno Ecuele Manga to score for OM, giving them a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.

In the 21st minute, Marseille were denied a penalty as Jordan Ayew was hand-tackled in the box by Lorient’s Gregory Bourillon. This is the third consecutive match in which there was a controversial call against Marseille that could have led to a possible goal. Even still, after scoring the goal, OM continued to pressure the Lorient defense, creating a few quality chances on goal.

Later in the half, Marseille changed to a more defensive style of play, giving Lorient more midfield opportunities to creating offensive chances, but good defending lead to these opportunities being denied, leaving Lorient scoreless in the first half.

Going into the second half, Lorient showed a sense of urgency. Just one minute into the half, a Gameiro shot deflected off a Marseille defender, leading to a corner. Morgan Amalfitano, who already had 10 assists on the season, added his 11th as his corner kick found the head of Lamine Kone along the far post, leveling the match 1-1.

After the Kone goal, Lorient continued to charge offensively, creating multiple chances on goal, which required some important saves from Steve Mandanda. In addition, Gameiro created a number of opportunities which were lacking for the player in the first half.

But late in the second half, Lorient seemed as they were going to put away the game. With Amalfitano breaking on the left side, his long lead pass was able to find the feet of Kevin Gameiro, who blasted a shot past Mandanda, giving Lorient a 2-1 lead late in the match. The goal was Gameiro’s 21st of the season, tying him with Lille’s Moussa Sow for the league lead. Amalfitano added his 12th assist, putting him four behind league leader Marvin Martin from Sochaux.

As the Lorient supporters were celebrating an inevitable victory, in the 88th minute former Lorient striker Andre-Pierre Gignac was able to wiggle his way around the Lorient defense and find the back of the Lorient net, tying the game yet again at 2-2. Gignac’s goal was his 8th of the season, tying him with injured teammate Lucho Gonzalez for third on the team.

In the second minute of extra time, Marseille looked as if they were going to put the game away, but Benoit Cheyrou, who was able to head the ball toward a wide open goal, didn’t pull all of his might into it and was denied by Cappone, who was able to catch up to the slow-moving ball. Cheyrou’s weak attempt might now be the difference between OM or Lille winning the title.

But even with a Lille victory against Sochaux, OM still have an outside chance to win the Ligue 1 title. As for Lorient, they will be praying for a Sochaux loss, as a win would surely put them out of the running for a Europa League spot.

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2 Responses

  1. I thought sure that Marseille had the match when Cheryou headed the ball, and even though he headed it down to bounce in I thought he’d get it in. Oops. Great match, though, and Lorient deserves credit for a strong performance.

  2. Gerry, the ball doesn’t bounce like that on plastic terrains, but it sure rolls well. Morgan put on a passing clinic, and OM tried to play desperation long-ball in the closing minutes to negate the surface.

    Would Lorient be as strong a team at home if they were still playing on real grass? Take a look at their record. Much stronger at home than away. They deserved the draw no doubt, and Marseille’s injury problems at defense (Mbia and Heinze out).

    Spaced-out Taiwo and rusty Hilton looked pathetic out there, and Fanni was underwhelming as ever. Back four in shambles without Azpi, Gaby, and Mbia.

    Midfield looked terrible but better than defense. Not Kabore’s best night. Cheyrou had moments of brilliance but wasn’t consistent. The Ayews came close to putting something together but the youth starts to show.

    Remy did well to open the scoring and had a decent game, but missed some chances too. Gignac didn’t waste much time. On his third (of fourth touch) he hit a nice strike to finish cleanly.

    Well, the title and “le double” is surely Lille’s now. I’m still hoping Sochaux with best passer Marvin “My Favorite” Martin, can beat them in a high-scoring affair…

    Congratulations also to Lille for beating Paris in the French Cup. What a way to deny PSG any silverware this season 🙂

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