Marseille held to 2-2 home draw despite Balotelli’s double

PARIS (AP) — Strasbourg won the French League Cup for the third time on Saturday, defeating Guingamp 4-1 in a penalty shootout after a goalless and soporific tie.

Only Paris Saint-Germain, which claimed the trophy over the past five years, has won it more often, with eight titles.

Strasbourg and Guingamp struggled to create chances on a poor-quality pitch at Stade Pierre Mauroy in the northern city of Lille, and the only highlight of the game was Strasbourg midfielder Dimitri Lienard’s successful Panenka kick during the shootout.

“My idol was Zinedine Zidane, he did one in the World Cup final,” Lienard said. “I always said I would try it once. My teammates did the job during the match, it was very close.”

Striker Alexandre Mendy was the first to shoot for Guingamp and sent his kick over the bar. Strasbourg goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara then stopped Ronny Rodelin’s effort with a save to his left, and Lionel Carole sealed the match with a well-taken kick.

Kamara, a former France Under-21 international, has not started a single French league game this season but was Strasbourg’s No. 1 goalkeeper in the cup.

BALOTELLI SCORES AGAIN

Marseille wasted a two-goal lead through Mario Balotelli in the first 16 minutes and was held by Angers to 2-2 at home in the French league.

With eight games left, Marseille’s latest disappointing result left it eight points behind third-placed Lyon, and with little hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Lyon beat Rennes 1-0 on Friday.

Thomas Mangani canceled Marseille’s goals with a pair of penalties in the 36th and 76th minutes.

Balotelli, who has seven goals in his first nine games with Marseille, put the host in front after beating the offside trap in the fourth minute. He controlled the ball with his chest and coolly sent it past goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle.

The Italian forward made it 2-0 with a low shot from the edge of the box that made him the first Marseille player to score in five consecutive league games at the Velodrome since Didier Drogba during the 2003-04 season.

But his team failed to hold on to the lead.

Angers was awarded its first penalty in the 36th minute after Jordan Amavi fouled Ismael Traore in the box. Mangani converted it with a shot in the middle and made no mistake in the second half to beat Yohann Pele a second time from the spot after Amavi and Duje Caleta-Car conceded another penalty by obstructing Jeff Reine Adelaide.

Marseille finished the match with 10 players after Bouna Sarr was sent off for a second yellow card and was lucky to escape an embarrassing loss when Romain Thomas‘ header in stoppage time hit the crossbar.