Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Rennes inflict more pain on ‘indefensible’ Marseille with win

AFP, PARIS

Rennes midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, left, vies for the ball with Marseille defender Nicolas Nkoulou during their match at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France, on
Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Olympique de Marseille’s bid for European soccer next season received another major blow on Saturday when struggling visitors Stade Rennais inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Jose Anigo’s side at Stade Velodrome.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 76th-minute goal from a sparkling counterattack left Marseille in sixth place, a yawning nine points off the last Champions League spot, third-placed Olympique Lyonnais, and four points off the Europa League spot inhabited by AS Saint Etienne.

Those gaps could well increase with the teams above Marseille enjoying a game in hand.

Saturday’s upset came on the back of last week’s 1-1 draw with Stade de Reims and a 1-0 loss to OGC Nice.

It was Marseille’s sixth home loss of the season and Anigo’s out of form team have now gone four games without a win.

It promises to be a long end of season run for Marseille, who were booed off their pitch by unhappy home fans.

“I’m not going to talk at length because you can’t defend the indefensible,” Marseille president Vincent Labrune said. “Our form at home is catastrophic.”

Anigo said: “The players haven’t done their jobs. I’m disappointed because when you wear this shirt you have to put in the work.”

“It’s our fault we are in the position where we are today,” Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena said.

For Rennes, this was a welcome victory, pushing them up a place to a comforting six points above the relegation zone.

Rennes’ goal scorer Doucoure commented: “We knew we could pull off a result here and I’m happy for the team. Now we have to fight till the end.”

Nantes beat Montpellier Herault 2-1 for their first win in two months, bottom club AC Ajaccio edged Valenciennes 3-2 and SC Bastia beat Reims 2-0.

The game between Girondins de Bordeaux and Nice ended at 1-1, as did the Toulouse versus Evian Thonon Gaillard match.

AS Monaco, who are in second place, were to host third-placed LOSC Lille Metropole yesterday looking to increase the gap between the teams, which sits at nine points, while Saint-Etienne were to host Sochaux-Montbeliard and Lyon in fifth were to play at En Avant de Guingamp.

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