Marseille move within two points of Lyon following draw at Rennes

Nantes forward Serge Gakpe (L) celebrates with teammate Banel Nicolita after scoring his side's equalizer vs. Marseille.  


Marseille’s European hopes suffered a blow as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Nantes on Friday night.

Florian Thauvin put the visitors ahead after 30 minutes, but Serge Gakpe leveled in the 64th minute. The draw against a side with little left to play for this term left sixth-placed OM two points behind Lyon in fifth, having played a game more.

In what proved to be a largely uneventful opening 20 minutes, the first chance fell the hosts’ way when Gakpe did well down the left before picking out Daniel Nicolita, but the Romanian’s effort from the edge of the area flashed just wide of Steve Mandanda’s post.

Marseille’s first real attack came after half-an-hour and resulted in the opening goal.

Andre-Pierre Gignac was instrumental, his dummy from Nicolas N’Koulou’s pass finding Thauvin 20 yards out, and the young France international made no mistake with a clinical finish just inside Remy Riou’s post.

Nantes hit back straight away and could have leveled but for Nicolita’s lack of composure. He blazed over the bar after Gakpe teed him up.


The hosts should have levelled when Alejandro Bedoya darted into the OM area before cutting inside his man and bending a shot at goal, but the American’s effort was too close to Mandanda, who saved comfortably.

Nantes picked up where they left off after the break and Bedoya once again threatened, but he could only head the busy Gakpe’s cross just wide of the left post.

Marseille continued to look fragile at the back and Jordan Veretout almost capitalized as his half-volley flashed just wide, but the home side did not have to wait much longer for a goal.

Gakpe’s meaningful run from midfield stretched the visitors’ defense and his powerful shot beat Mandanda and nestled in the bottom corner.

Marseille sprung back into life and Andre Ayew had an opportunity to restore their lead, but his shot was beaten away by Riou after Brice Dja Djedje’s cross beat the Nantes defence.

At the other end Veretout had chance to steal all three points in stoppage time, but the France under-21 international fired wide from 18 yards and the hosts settled for a point.