Marseille saves face against Lorient
Benoit Cheyrou rescued Marseille pride with a winner five minutes into stoppage time as Lorient lost 2-1 and finished with nine men.
Substitute Cheyrou headed in from Mathieu Valbuena’s free-kick to change the atmosphere inside the Stade Velodrome, where Marseille’s struggle to break down a depleted Lorient side had irritated the home crowd.
Earlier Marseille had fallen behind to a strike from Innocent Emeghara, before Valbuena pulled them back level.
Lorient had lost defender Lamine Kone and, immediately prior to the winning goal, Alaixys Romao to red cards.
Valbuena’s free-kicks were a problem for Lorient all night. As early as the second minute he skimmed the goal-frame from a set-piece 22 yards out.
Lorient threatened in the 18th minute when Romao showed pace in a wide position, darting towards goal before firing just wide from a tight angle, when a pass to unmarked team-mate Kevin Monnet-Paquet may have been a better option.
Kone had to go in the 32nd minute, when as the last defender he was tugging at Loic Remy, preventing a clear scoring chance.
Valbuena was inevitably the player charged with taking the free-kick and he hit the target, with the ball going between the legs of goalkeeper Fabien Audard but somehow being kept out.
Cheyrou rifled wide from a chance early in the second half, after Loic Remy had headed a cross from Morgan Amalfitano into his path.
The pressure continued, as full-back Cesar Azpilicueta made good progress down the right and crossed as far as Lorient’s Romao who cleared only as far as Amalfitano, whose fierce volley went narrowly over the crossbar.
Marseille, despite their extra man, were struggling to find a breakthrough.
Cheyrou was given responsibility at a free-kick in the 75th minute and Audard had to guard his goal carefully, with a firm hand turning the ball away from under the crossbar.
Lorient stunned the Stade Velodrome two minutes later when Emeghara was released by a pass from Arnold Mvuemba and dribbled past goalkeeper Steve Mandanda before firing into the empty net.
Valbuena’s leveller came from open play, with Jordan Ayew’s pass freeing his team-mate inside the penalty area and the snap right-footed shot surprising Audard.
Romao was ordered off in the fourth additional minute but still a winner looked beyond Marseille.
Yet it came when Valbuena played the perfect free-kick for Cheyrou to meet with a powerful header, amid a crowd of Lorient defenders, and bulge the net.
Marseille stay eighth, now five points clear of ninth-placed Lorient.