Ligue 1: Marseille title hopes spring leak at Montpellier
Marseille suffered a second successive defeat and saw their Ligue 1 titles hopes suffer a blow when they lost 2-1 at Montpellier on Friday.
Paris: Marseille suffered a second successive defeat and saw their Ligue 1 titles hopes suffer a blow when they lost 2-1 at Montpellier on Friday.
A week after losing to fourth-tier Grenoble in the French Cup, the former European giants were sunk at the Stade de la Mosson which was hosting a game for the first time since floods in September swamped the arena.
Marcelo Bielsa`s Marseille still lead Ligue 1 but they can be deposed by Lyon if they defeat Toulouse on Sunday.
Friday`s result also allowed Montpellier to clinch the league double over their heavyweight rivals having won 2-0 at the Stade Velodrome earlier in the season.
Kevin Berigaud and Paul Lasne scored for Montpellier either side of the interval with Bilel Omrani giving Marseille hope with a goal just two minutes after coming on as a substitute.
The game got off to an emotional start with a minute`s silence observed in memory of the victims of this week`s Paris massacres followed by a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise.
Both sets of players sported "Je Suis Charlie" T-shirts during the warm-up and wore black armbands.
Berigaud gave Montpellier a deserved 36th-minute lead in controversial circumstances with a superb piece of control with his left foot before firing a right-foot drive from the edge of the box past Steve Mandanda in the Marseille goal.
But Marseille believed play should have been halted for a foul on Brice Dja Djedje who lost possession in the build-up to the goal.
Lasne, who had created his team`s opener, then made it 2-0 after 62 minutes after a muscular charge by Anthony Mounier took out two defenders.
His pass found an unmarked Lasne who scored confidently from the edge of the six-yard box.
Omrani gave Marseille hope by cutting the deficit six minutes later but it was Montpellier who finished the stronger.
Marseille have now gone seven away games without a win in all competitions and looked weakened on Friday with Africa Cup of Nations-bound Andre Ayew and Nicolas Nkoulou both absent.