Lille, Marseille battle to goalless draw in Ligue 1 action
A goalless Ligue 1 draw at the Stade Velodrome did little to boost the ambitions of either Marseille or Lille on Sunday night.
While Marseille scrap to reach a Europa League berth, Lille are practically assured of third place and a shot at reaching the Champions League group stages.
Marseille perhaps enjoyed the better chances on the night – Andre-Pierre Gignac went close in the first half and was denied by Vincent Enyeama at the death – but the southerners sit two points behind Lyon.
Lille threatened first as Divock Origi set up Pape Souare for a bullet header that Steve Mandanda punched to safety.
In the 25th minute Marseille came close to scoring as Saber Khalifa nodded Mathieu Valbuena’s corner just inches wide of the mark.
Gignac demonstrated the hosts’ determination to get a result by driving the ball narrowly over the crossbar on 36 minutes and, before the break, Valbuena’s free-kick was cleared by Salomon Kalou.
Marseille’s former Toulouse striker Gignac made a key contribution in defence when play resumed.
Souare’s free-kick from 30 yards out was sailing in but the France forward cleared the ball off the line.
With 66 minutes played Benoit Cheyrou combined well with Florian Thauvin to send the latter into the Lille box, where Enyeama made a smart reaction save with his fist.
The last real chance for Les Dogues to grab the winner came 11 minutes from time as Origi skimmed the outside of the top corner with a first-time swing at Kalou’s pass.
While their visitors sat back to ride out the draw, Marseille pushed hard for the win but Gignac failed to deliver in stoppage time.
Having been fed by substitute Dimitri Payet, he unleashed a violent snapshot that Enyeama had to slap out of play at full stretch.