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Ligue 1

  • May 15, 2011
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade Yves Allainmat - Le Moustoir, Lorient
  • Referee: T. Chapron
  • • Attendance: 16956

Lorient 2-2 Marseille: Late Andre Pierre Gignac strike not enough to ignite title challenge

Lorient 2-2 Marseille: Late Andre Pierre Gignac strike not enough to ignite title challenge

The destination of the Championnat title increasingly looks to be Lille after OM failed to overcome a home side who might even have claimed all three points

Defending Ligue 1 champions Marseille appear set to abdicate their throne as they lie three points behind Lille with only two matches of action remaining, having drawn 2-2 with Lorient.

Loic Remy deservedly opened the scoring for the visitors, but les Merlus have lost only once at home all season and would strike level early in the second half through a Lamine Kone header. With 10 minutes remaining, Kevin Gameiro poked home a cross from Morgan Amalfitano and though Andre Pierre Gignac mustered a late leveller, OM’s title hopes are in tatters.

In pursuit of Lille, Marseille showed no signs of nerves in the early stages of the match and made by some distance the more positive start to the game. As has been the case in recent games, it was the Ayew brothers who were their liveliest actors, with Andre unlucky from distance and Jordan thwarted by some smart goalkeeping from Lionel Cappone.

Fourteen minutes in, the visitors made the breakthrough their enterprising attacking play deserved. A fine ball into the right channel released Remy, who thumped home after out pacing Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Normally such a force at home, Lorient’s play in the first half was fragmented and disappointing. Marseille, on the other hand, were playing with fluidity rarely seen this season and though they weren’t creating a great deal, the Provence side looked thoroughly comfortable.

Only in the closing stages of the first half did Christian Gourcuff’s side hint at what might be to come. A series of passes around the Marseille box ended with Amalfitano making a break into the box, though when he crashed to ground referee Tony Chapron was unmoved.

Gourcuff’s decision to swap Gregory Bourillon for Yann Jouffre at half-time would be a crucial move, and Lorient would soon be on terms when a viciously in-swinging corner was majestically headed home by Kone.

Having looked out of sorts during the opening period, les Merlus suddenly looked like their normal selves, dominating the game and now creating openings.

Amalfitano was firmly to the fore, and so too was Gameiro, whose movement and speed was troubling the visiting rearguard. Play was increasingly switching from end-to-end, and it was certainly the home side who were benefitting from the spaces that were opening up as both outfits increasingly committed players forward.

There was always a threat of goals at both ends of the field, and Remy so nearly pushed OM back ahead quarter of an hour from time. A slip in the Lorient midfield suddenly unleashed the visitors on a three-on-one counter-attack, and though the former Lyon striker got by Ecuele Manga, he was denied by Cappone, who was quickly from his line.

That missed suddenly looked very costly moments later. Amalfitano showed good pace to create room for a cross down the right, and his centre was met perfectly at the near post by Gameiro’s outstretched foot, which gave Lorient the lead.

Needing to get back into the game to salvage their title hopes, Marseille manically pushed players forward and carved out an opportunity for Remy, but they were given something of a reprise two minutes from time when Benoit Cheyrou released Gignac in the left channel, leaving the ex-Merlus to finish neatly.

In stoppage time, les Phoceens might even have won the game, but Cheyrou somehow failed to head the ball into the net from a couple of yards out, leaving OM’s crown tumbling off their heads and towards the lap of Lille.

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