Lorient’s Ghana international Jordan Ayew scored a penalty to cancel out Dimitri Payet’s opener and salvage a 1-1 draw against his former club, Olympique de Marseille, on Tuesday.
The stalemate left titlechasers Marseille two points clear of champions Paris Saint-Germain, who were to face LOSC Lille Metropole yesterday.
In an attempt to end a run of three successive defeats on the road, Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa opted for a five-man defense.
Up front, Andre-Pierre Gignac had an off night, missing all his chances, including a lob attempt in the 24th minute.
In the 71st minute, he struck the ball at a virtually empty Lorient goalmouth, only for his shot to be aimed at Vincent Le Goff — the only defender guarding the goal-line.
Marseille were struggling to create much real danger, aside from in the 32nd minute when Payet out-foxed Lorient ’keeper Benjamin Lecomte to put the visitors in the lead.
Marseille’s lead lasted a matter of minutes, with Lorient levelling via Marseille’s former striker Ayew’s penalty awarded after ’keeper Steve Mandanda’s late challenge on Benjamin Jeannot.
Bielsa’s gamble after the hour mark when he introduced Michy Batshuayi for Abdelaziz Barrada failed to pay off.
Marseille finished the last 20 minutes the stronger side, sensing Lorient were flagging. Lorient captain Wesley Lautoa made a game-saving goal-line tackle to deny Batshuayi with 10 minutes remaining.
Marseille deserved to have come away with all three points, Bielsa said.
“The difference between the two sides wasn’t reflected in the result, so there’s a sense of dissatisfaction,” he said. “We had enough opportunities, but lacked efficiency.”
Also on Tuesday, Toulouse saw off hosts Nantes 2-1, while Dimitar Berbatov was on the scoresheet as AS Monaco shrugged off being reduced to 10 men to beat Racing Club de Lens 2-0.
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