Tue, Jan 17, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Marseille dent Lille’s title aspirations


LOSC Lille Metropole’s French title defense received a significant setback on Sunday as their 17-game unbeaten run came to an end in a 2-0 defeat at resurgent Olympique de Marseille in which Loic Remy claimed both goals.

Rudi Garcia’s side had not been beaten in the league since a 1-0 loss at home to Montpellier Herault on Aug. 14, but Remy’s brace gave Marseille a win that lifted the victors up to sixth and left Lille seven points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Lille were aggrieved by an early foul on Eden Hazard by Alou Diarra on the edge of the hosts’ box that went unpunished, but that aside, Marseille were much the better team in the first half.

Goalkeeper Mickael Landreau came to Lille’s rescue in the 21st minute, saving with his legs after Mathieu Valbuena had released Remy, while only an instinctive block from Aurelien Chedjou prevented Remy breaking the deadlock moments later.

Benoit Cheyrou threatened twice in quick succession prior to the break, but Landreau parried his stinging drive.

Hazard freed Ireneusz Jelen in the early stages of the second half, but his tame shot was saved by Steve Mandanda.

Deschamps introduced Brazilian forward Brandao from the bench moments later and he received a rousing reception from the OM fans, despite facing rape charges over an incident near Aix-en-Provence in March last year.

The first goal arrived in the 61st minute and Valbuena was the source, standing up a cross to the back post for Remy to crash home his eighth goal of the season — his sixth with his head.

Tottenham Hotspur coach Harry Redknapp was present to watch Remy and the striker enhanced his reputation in the 83rd minute when he beat Landreau to a loose ball, before rolling home his second goal.

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