Marseille’s title hopes take massive blow with stunning loss at Nantes

Serge Gakpe capitalized on Steve Mandanda's mistake and scored Nantes' winner on Friday night.  

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images

Marseille’s Champions League aspirations suffered another big hit on Friday as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Nantes.

Serge Gakpe scored the only goal to inflict a third successive defeat on Marseille and leave them outside of the top three, having played more matches than the teams above them. Marcelo Bielsa’s men will drop out of the European places altogether if St Etienne beat leaders Lyon on Sunday.

The warning signs were there from Nantes in the early stages when Remi Gomis freed Alejandro Bedoya, who fired just over the bar. However, it was an error from Rod Fanni which led to the opening goal after 19 minutes, with the right-back’s under-hit pass towards goalkeeper Steve Mandanda allowing Gakpe to swoop in and slot home.

The goal shook Marseille awake and before the half was out Michy Batshuayi had forced a good save from home goalkeeper Remy Riou while Romain Alessandrini saw a shot trickle inches wide. Nantes applied the pressure once more after the interval, with Mandanda called upon to turn away a 22-yard drive from Jordan Veretout.

And Veretout turned provider for Lucas Deaux soon after, with the midfielder unleashing a low volley which had Mandanda beaten but landed just wide of the mark. Again Marseille responded but Andre-Pierre Gignac was left hanging his head in shame after 63 minutes when, unmarked, he met a corner from Alessandrini but somehow missed the target from two yards out when it seemed easier to score.

However, it was Lucas Ocampos who came closest to snatching a point for the visitors five minutes from time, picking up a ball from Jeremy Morel and curling in a shot from the left side of the area which Riou had to claw out from under the crossbar.