Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Marseille lead in race for second shrink after losing to Lyon

PARIS ( Associated Press) — A dysfunctional Marseille cut its lead in the race for second place to three points after a 3-0 loss to Lyon in the French league on Sunday.

The top two French clubs enter the group stage of the Champions League while the third-placed team advances to the third qualifying round of the lucrative European competition.

Marseille should have taken the lead in the first half but Arkadiusz Milik failed to miss two big chances for the hosts. Dimitri Payet sent a walled pass to Milik, the Poland forward, who sent his lob over the bar in the 29th minute. Milik met a low cross from Gerson in the 43rd, only to shoot wide with the target at his mercy.

“It’s important to clear our heads now,” Marseille president Pablo Longoria told Amazon Prime Video. “We must turn the page and take responsibility for our mistakes.”

Lyon proved more clinical by scoring with their first chance in 55th. Moussa Dembele connected with a free kick from Emerson and was denied by Marseille goalkeeper Pau López, but Castello Luqueba followed to catch the opener.

Dembele doubled the lead when he topped Malo Gusto’s cross to score his 17th goal in the 76th league.

Cameroon forward Karl Toko Ekambi sealed the win by converting Tete’s cross in the 88th.

Lyon climbed to seventh place, five points away from the Europa Conference League playoff spot.

Monaco extended their winning run to seven games after beating Angers 2–0 to draw them within three points of Marseille.

Monaco took the lead in the 42nd with an own goal from Angers wingback Abdoulaye Bamba. French international Wissam Ben Yedder rebounded in the 61st to score his 21st league goal, just three behind league top scorer Kylian Mbappe.

Monaco finished fourth on points level with Rennes, whose goal margin is much better.

Nice won 1–0 in Bordeaux and finished fifth, two points away from a Europa League spot. Andy Delorte bounces off a loose ball to score a hunter’s goal in the 74th.

Bordeaux finished in 19th place, four points away from the final playoff spot.

Nice will also have a chance of a European spot when they face Nantes in the French Cup final next weekend.

Downstairs Metz hurt his chances of survival in a 2-2 draw with Montpellier. Metz took a 2–0 lead with goals from Thomas Delaine in the 24th and Louis Mafouta in the 70th. But Montpellier wing back Arnaud Sauquet pulled back once in the 80th before equalizing in stoppage time by teenage striker Eli Vahi.

“It reflects our season,” Mafata told Amazon Prime Video. “We scored two goals in the last 10 minutes. Usually, when we need to be mentally strong. Unfortunately, we broke up today. Very disappointed.”

Metz extended their winless streak to 14 games and are six points away from the playoff spot.

Midtable Lille’s European hopes were dashed when it conceded three penalties and sent Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches and Turkish forward Burak Yilmaz into a 3–0 loss at Troyes.

Troyes moved closer to securing safety by moving five points away from the relegation zone a year after receiving promotion.

Ten-man Brest beat struggling Clermont 2-0 with goals from Lillian Brasier and Steve Mouni. Brest midfielder Romain del Castillo was given a red card for a high tackle in the 22nd match. Clermont finished 17th, just two points above the relegation zone.

Reims made a mathematically safe defense after beating Lorient 2–1. In 17th place, Arbor Janelli put Rimes ahead. Nigeria international Terem Mofi scored a solo goal after a run from his own half to level 32nd and slid past three defenders before slotting into an empty net. Mali international El Bilal Torey made the winner in the 59th.


More Associated Press Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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