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Dijon further dent Marseille's Euro hopes

17 Mar 2012 21:16:59

Dijon further dent Marseille's Euro hopes

Relegation-threatened Dijon compounded Marseille's hopes of securing European football next season with a shock 2-1 win on a day of French league upsets Saturday.

Leaders Paris Saint-Germain, pushing for their first league title since 1994, were spared similar ignominy when defender Christophe Jalliet scored an injury-time equaliser to snatch a share of the points from a 2-2 draw at struggling Caen.

After second-placed Montpellier suffered a 1-0 defeat at Nancy, it meant Carlo Ancelotti's side saw their lead double to two points.

Bordeaux's bid for only their 11th win in 28 games was scuppered when Ajaccio defender Yoann Poulard scored in the third minute of injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw for the Corsicans.

Marseille's fifth consecutive league defeat meanwhile leaves Didier Deschamps knowing that results elsewhere must go in their favour, and they must improve smartly, if they are to snatch a place in Europe next season.

Only days after qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals, Deschamps sent out the exact same team with only Brazilian striker Brandao, the match-winner against Inter Milan at the San Siro midweek, rested because of a sore shoulder.

That decision, however, appeared to backfire as a visibly fatigued Marseille team failed to muster a response to a 24th minute equaliser to Loic Remy's opener from the penalty spot.

Marseille got off to the perfect start, with Remy converting an 11th minute penalty following a handball in the box. It was his 10th league goal, but his first since scoring in a 2-0 win over Lille in mid-January.

However the Marseille defence was exposed badly barely 10 minutes later when Younousse Sankhare beat 'keeper Steve Mandanda with a well-taken strike to level.

Lacking spark and vibrancy, Marseille struggled to muster another goal and paid the price in the 78th minute when on-loan Chelsea midfielder Gael Kakuta beat Mandanda from the spot after Nicolas Nkoulou was red-carded for a foul on Dijon striker Koro Kone.

Marseille dropped one place to ninth, meaning their chances of securing third spot, the last place for Champions League qualification, is now virtually non-existent. A place in the Europa League may also be under threat.

Elsewhere, Auxerre's bid to move out of the relegation zone was kept in check by a 2-0 defeat at home which, if Sochaux draw with or beat Nice on Sunday, will leave the once-ambitious Burgundy side bottom of the pile.

Lorient got reacquainted with victory in a 2-1 home win over Breton rivals Brest, a result which left the hosts in 12th place.


AFP

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