Ligue 1

Saint Etienne, Marseille draw

Saint-Etienne's forward Brandao is congratulated by teammates.
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Brandao's stoppage-time equalizer ensured Saint Etienne clung on to fourth place in Ligue 1 with a dramatic 1-1 draw against Marseille on Sunday night.

Nicolas N'Koulou's first goal of the season had looked to have given the visitors all three points at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, but Brandao leveled in added time against his former club to prevent Christophe Gaultier's men from dropping below their opponents.

Les Verts should have taken an early lead when Renaud Cohade headed back across the area for Kurt Zouma, but the Chelsea loanee sent the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Marseille's Souleymane Diawara saw yellow with 10 minutes to go, and was lucky to still be on the pitch five minutes later as another poorly timed challenge resulted only in a telling-off.

Franck Tabanou was next to open up the Marseille defense but, after plucking the ball out of the air, he shot straight at Steve Mandanda before Andre Pierre-Gignac volleyed over the bar at the other end.

Neither side could find the breakthrough before half-time and, with the pitch beginning to cut up under foot, conditions seemed to affect the standard of football on show.

Fabien Lemoine tried to inject some excitement into the game on the hour mark but his 25-yard effort had too much elevation on it to trouble Mandanda before Gignac saw a spectacular effort blocked by Loic Perrin at the other end.

Then, with 25 minutes left on the clock, Marseille made the all-important breakthrough via an unlikely source.

Dimitri Payet flung a free-kick into the area from the left which found N'Koulou at the far post and the defender was left with the simple task of poking the ball home for his first of the season.

The visitors probably should have doubled their lead when Gignac bundled his way through the heart of the St Etienne defense but shot straight at Stephane Ruffier, who was left with a straightforward save.

Then, with the full-time whistle looming, OM and Gignac were made to pay for their wastefulness when Les Verts leveled with seconds left to play.

Yohan Mollo launched a free-kick into the area and, despite being cleared initially, Brandao escaped Diawara's attentions to head in off the post and claim a dramatic point for the hosts. 

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