Caen dig deep late to stun title hopefuls Marseille in Ligue 1

Marseille remains four points behind leaders Olympique Lyon following its 3-2 home defeat to Caen at Stade Velodrome.


Caen produced a brilliant late comeback from two goals down to stun Marseille 3-2 at the Stade Velodrome in Ligue 1 on Friday evening.

Andre Ayew put OM ahead on the stroke of halftime – after Michy Batshuayi had seen an early penalty saved – and substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac looked to have made the result safe when he doubled their advantage in the 63rd minute. But two goals in four minutes from Nicolas Seube and Emiliano Sala swiftly got the visitors back on level terms and substitute Nicolas Benezet completed the turnaround with the dramatic winner three minutes from time.

Patrice Garande’s side headed into the game having won five in an unbeaten six-match run, the sole dropped points coming at Paris Saint-Germain. They could have found themselves behind after just two minutes when Alaeddine Yahia’s foul on Batshuayi resulted in the award of a spot-kick, but Remy Vercoutre dived the right way and punched away Batshuayi’s effort.

Vercoutre had to be alert from the off, also keeping out a Florian Thauvin left-footed blast and fisting away a curling attempt from Dimitri Payet. The visitors’ first sight of goal arrived in the 24th minute and could easily have led to the opening goal, with Sala’s superb curling shot – set up by Herve Bazile — tipped on to the bar by Steve Mandanda.

OM were also frustrated by the woodwork 12 minutes later, Ayew’s header from Brice Djadjedje’s cross hitting the bar with Vercoutre beaten. The deadlock was finally broken in first-half stoppage time when Ayew pounced on the rebound after Payet’s low shot from the edge of the area had been parried by Vercoutre.

Mandanda did well to preserve his side’s lead six minutes into the second half when he saved a Seube effort which took a dangerous deflection off home defender Jeremy Morel. And, soon after the hour mark, things got a whole lot worse for the visitors when Gignac – again on the follow-up – converted after Benjamin Mendy had seen his shot saved.

No Caen heads dropped, though, and Seube’s strike midway through the second half, lashing into the top corner from substitute Thomas Lemar’s corner, immediately gave them renewed hope. And they were all square three minutes later.

In-form Julien Feret led a counter-attack and freed Ngolo Kante. He flicked towards Sala, who drilled a powerful right-footed shot between Mandanda’s legs. Not content with a point, Caen kept pushing and were rewarded in the 87th minute when Benezet latched on to a fine pass from Lemar, surged into the area and fired a right-footed shot into the top corner to seal an amazing comeback.

The result moved Caen up to ninth and left Marcelo Bielsa’s third-placed side four points adrift of leaders Lyon, having played a game more.