All the goals were scored in the first half as the two French giants succeeded only in damaging the other's title aspirations on a chilly Provence nightOlympique de Marseille saw their momentum in Ligue 1 halted as Olympique Lyonnais recovered from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw at Stade Velodrome.
Michel Bastos had said in the build-up to the match that a draw would be a good result for Lyon, but that looked barely possible when Marseille raced into a 2-0 lead, with Benoit Cheyrou and Brandao reacting well in the box to score. Lyon responded commendably, with Bafetimbi Gomis converting following a corner and Souleymane Diawara putting through his own net.
Both defences looked very shaky from the early moments of the game, although it was the visitors who did much of the early pressing against a team shorn of the likes of Andre Ayew and Mathieu Valbuena. OL’s rearguard, though, buckled under the first sign of pressure, with Aly Cissokho failing to clear a Brandao flick, allowing Cheyrou to slot home.
Lyon’s defence was then undone by a neat move from the home side. Morgan Amalfitano was the protagonist, taking his time to deliver neatly to the back post, where Brandao finished with a composed side-foot finish.
In a mature manner, OL set about getting themselves back into the game, having previously pierced the home defence dangerously without being able to score. Marseille’s sloppy defending presented Gomis with a goal, as the striker was given plenty of room to score from close range after Jimmy Briand had flicked on a Kim Kallstrom corner at the near post.
Just before the break, Lyon equalised to make it 2-2. Aly Cissokho went on a characteristically swashbuckling run down the left, though he would not have expected to see his mediocre low cross clumsily slashed into the goal by opponent Diawara.
Marseille took a greater hold of the game in the second period, forcing Lloris into action on several occasions. The France international was never truly stretched though, with a well-placed shot from Loic Remy drawing the best block from the Nice-born shot-stopper.
At the other end, a purposeful run from Anthony Reveillere saw the right-back get to the byline, and though his cross was blocked by Mandanda, Briand was left with a half chance at the near post he put into the side netting from an acute angle. The ever-effervescent Lisandro Lopez also forced the home goalkeeper to work, but his back-post volley was comfortably held, and a late flick required Mandanda to react well.
A draw does little for either side’s title hopes. Lyon retain their one-point advantage over OM, but they trail leaders Paris Saint-Germain by an intimidating 10 points and must now be turning their attentions to securing a top three place that would bring with it Champions League football.
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