Marseille loses 1-0 to Spartak in Champions League

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta scored a late own goal to give Spartak Moscow a 1-0 win at Marseille in the Champions League, despite the French side dominating most of the match.

After Marseille wasted several chances to score, the Russian side broke quickly in the 81st minute, and when Dmitriy Kombarov crossed from the left Azpilicueta stuck out a leg and diverted the ball past goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

Marseille coach Didier Deschamps is convinced that Marseille must win in Moscow to qualify from the group stage.

''It's the worst scenario for us to lose the opening game because I think our main challenger will be Spartak,'' Deschamps said. ''In any case, I think that we will certainly have to go and win over there.''

Marseille should easily have won the Group F match, but Argentina midfielder Lucho Gonzalez headed wide of an open goal in the 76th after France winger Mathieu Valbuena set him up with a perfect cross to the back post.

''I don't think we played badly but we were lacking something,'' Marseille midfielder Benoit Cheyrou said. ''We had a lot of luck at the end of last season, and tonight it's the opposite - with us scoring an own-goal and hitting the post.''

Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac then hit the post with a stunning strike in injury time at Stade Velodrome.

Cheyrou twice went close inside the first 15 minutes but was denied both times by inspired goalkeeper Andrej Dykan.

''It is going to be very hard (to qualify) but we have to carry on,'' Cheyrou said. ''We're not eliminated tonight. Of course we have lost three points, but we have to keep going and stick together.''

Brazilian striker Brandao then failed to test Dykan properly with a soft header when well placed in the 44th, and Cheyrou was thwarted again by Dykan when he turned away his spectacular volley a minute later.

Deschamps had seen enough wasteful finishing and replaced Brandao with Gignac with 30 minutes left.

''When you dominate and you can't score you're never safe,'' Deschamps said. ''At the moment, when we were at our best and created a lot of chances, we just couldn't finish.''

But Marseille could not find a way past Dykan, who denied Nigeria left back Taye Taiwo and Valbuena before Gonzalez's glaring miss gave the Russian team another reprieve.

Gonzalez had a chance to make amends for his terrible miss in the 80th, with Valbuena again the provider, but he sliced his shot well wide from 15 yards (meters) with no defenders in sight.

With two minutes of injury time played, Gignac latched onto a brilliant headed pass from fellow substitute Jordan Ayew and hit a powerful first-time shot from 20 yards that beat Dykan but smacked against the left post.


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