Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Marseille surrender two-goal lead to Auxerre


LOSC Lille Metropole’s Eden Hazard, right, shoots in front of Montpellier Herault goalkeeper Laurent Pionnier in their Ligue 1 match in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Olympique de Marseille’s uncertain start to the new Ligue 1 season continued as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at AJ Auxerre on Sunday, while champions LOSC Lille Metropole slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Montpellier Herault.

Marseille’s title challenge had got off to a stuttering start last weekend, with the 2009-2010 champions having to come from behind to draw at home to Sochaux-Montbeliard.

However, they got off to a perfect start on Sunday when France striker Loic Remy netted his 10th goal in his last 10 starts for club and country after just three minutes from Mathieu Valbuena’s free-kick.

Marseille looked in complete command with Benoit Cheyrou firing wide and Lucho Gonzalez missing a glorious headed chance, before an unmarked Andre Ayew headed home from Valbuena’s corner just before the interval.

However, Auxerre got one back within a minute of the restart when Jeremy Morel blocked a Ben Sahar pass, only for Alain Traore to blast home the loose ball. Substitute Roy Contout then ensured a share of the spoils when he headed in Dariusz Dudka’s corner nine minutes from time, as Auxerre claimed their first point under new coach Laurent Fournier.

“It’s unfortunate because we got off to such a good start,” Marseille midfielder Alou Diarra said. “I don’t know if we were a bit complacent after halftime, but the two goals we conceded were avoidable.”

“We knew we wouldn’t dominate the whole 90 minutes, but we need to be more solid,” he added in reference to a defense that has conceded eight goals in three competitive outings this season.

Champions Lille remain on one point from their first two games after losing 1-0 at Montpellier after Olivier Giroud scored a 70th-minute winner.

Montpellier have a perfect six points from two games and are second in the table, behind Toulouse on goal-difference.

Despite their poor start, Lille will take heart from their struggles of last season when they took just four points from four matches in August.

Elsewhere, newly promoted Evian Thonon Gaillard registered their first Ligue 1 victory, Tunisian striker Saber Khalifa scoring the only goal of their game against OGC Nice six minutes into the second half.

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