Quickfire strikes put Marseille in sight of Champions League - GulfToday

Quickfire strikes put Marseille in sight of Champions League


Marseille’s Ismael Benedetto (second right) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Lille during their French League match. Agence France-Presse

Paris: Marseille rallied to strike late twice in the dying moments to beat Lille 2-1 remain on course for Champions League on Sunday.

After the victory, Marseille opened an 11-point lead against the third place Rennes and tighten their grip on the second spot with PSG leading the standings with a cushion of 10 points.

Lille’s hopes of automatic Champions League qualification were further dented after slipping to the fourth spot, 12 point behind Marseille.

“We didn’t do much in the first half, but in the second we had a lot of intensity and showed aggressiveness,” said Villas-Boas.

“We had 70 minutes of defence and 20 minutes of attack.” He added: “We talked at half-time about what we would do if we got a goal. We played a decent match.”

Nigerian international Victor Osimhen gave Lille a 51st-minute lead pouncing onto Jonathan Bamba’s pass to beat Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for his 13th goal of the season, the same number as PSG’s Brazilian superstar Neymar.

But Marseille were level in the 67th minute when Reinildo turned a header from Valere Germain into his own goal before Argentine striker Dario Benedetto grabbed the winner two minutes later.

A below-par Marseille could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty just on the hour when Lille keeper Mike Maignan saved from Valentin Rongier.

Victory was the perfect way for Marseille to bounce back from Wednesday’s French Cup exit at the hands of Lyon.

Lyon’s poor league form continued with a 1-1 home draw against Strasbourg at a blustery Groupama Stadium that leaves them languishing in mid-table.

Rudi Garcia’s side are 11th on 34 points after a fourth match without a win, one in which the away side struck the post twice late on.

“There wasn’t enough going forward,” said Garcia.

“We didn’t create enough goal-scoring opportunities and we didn’t shoot enough at goal. We didn’t do enough as the home side.”

Burkino Faso international Bertrand Traore gave the hosts the lead in the 21st minute when he stooped to head home Maxwel Cornet’s brilliant swinging cross. Strasbourg, who sit seventh, three points away from the European places, were level just before the break.

Kevin Zohi latched onto Majeed Arsis’s through ball and slotted home as the Lyon defence and the linesman had their arms aloft for offside.

The goal was initially ruled out but a VAR check showed that Zohi was onside before he fed his finish in off the post.

Agence France-Presse

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