Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Marseille, Lyon draw as crowd trouble mars clash


Michy Batshuayi of Olympique Marseille, right, is hit by a firework during their Ligue 1 match against Olympique Lyonnais in Marseille, France, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Olympique Lyonnais striker Alexandre Lacazette opened his account for the season on Sunday, but 10-man Olympique de Marseille battled back to earn a 1-1 draw in a toxic encounter at the Stade Velodrome.

Lacazette, scorer of a club-record 27 goals last season on his way to winning Ligue 1’s Player of the Year award, converted a contentious first-half penalty to atone for his midweek miss in the Champions League.

However, Marseille, despite seeing Romain Alessandrini sent off just before halftime, rescued a point after play was interrupted for 20 minutes due to crowd trouble courtesy of Karim Rekik’s first goal in French soccer.

There was a hostile reception for Mathieu Valbuena on his return to the Stade Velodrome where he starred for Marseille until leaving for Dynamo Moscow last year before signing with Lyon last month.

However, the OL playmaker brushed off the jeers and missiles from the crowd, as well as a series of heavy challenges and played a key role in the visitors taking a 25th-minute lead.

In the build-up to Lyon’s goal, Valbuena threaded a pass through to Lacazette, who then went down following minimal contact with OM goalkeeper Steve Mandanda before calmly tucking away the resulting spot-kick.

Lacazette had seen his late penalty saved in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against nine-man KAA Gent in Belgium, but held his nerve on Sunday to end his early-season drought.

Lacazette should have added to his tally a few minutes later when he timed a run in behind the Marseille defense to perfection only for his shot to crash back off the upright with Mandanda well beaten.

Marseille were reduced to 10 men just before halftime with Romain Alessandrini dismissed for a crude challenge on Valbuena.

Play was then interrupted in the second half for about 20 minutes as objects rained down from the stands but Marseille equalized within a few minutes of the resumption when former Manchester City defender Rekik headed home from a corner.

Christophe Jallet, on target at Gent four days earlier, nearly snatched all three points for Lyon late on, but was denied by a fine reflex stop from Mandanda with Valbuena then fizzing a volley just wide.

Earlier, AS Saint-Etienne recorded a fourth successive league win to move to within a point of leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Les Verts took a first-half lead at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard through a first Ligue 1 goal from teenager Jonathan Bamba.

Slovenian international Robert Beric, who arrived from Rapid Vienna last month, then added a second just after halftime to seal victory for Christophe Galtier’s side.

Monaco’s indifferent start to the season continued as the principality side found themselves two goals down to Lorient inside 20 minutes.

Didier Ndong hammered a long-range thunderbolt beyond Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic before Benjamin Jeannot added a second for the visitors.

Almamy Toure pulled one back for Monaco shortly after and the hosts were back on level terms when Thomas Lemar equalized just after the interval, but substitute Benjamin Moukandjo’s 59th-minute strike won it for Lorient.

Enzo Crivelli scored a minute from time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Girondins de Bordeaux against 10-man Toulouse.

Moroccan midfielder Adrien Regattin smashed home the opening goal Toulouse in the 23rd minute, but a straight red card shown to Oscar Trejo with 13 minutes left hampered the visitors chances of holding on for maximum points.

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