Marseille slip to home defeat

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

The hosts had the better chances and the bulk of possession throughout but were thwarted by their own poor finishing and the excellence of Spartak goalkeeper Andrei Dikan. Cesar Azpilicueta's unfortunate own goal nine minutes from time proved decisive, but even then the French side went close to an equaliser and substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac struck an upright. Benoit Cheyrou had the first sight of goal in the seventh minute but Dikan easily held his 30-yard effort. That set the tone for the early stages, with Marseille's Ghana winger Andre Ayew shooting over from 25 yards and then wide from even further out. And Cheyrou then again tried his luck from range, with his effort parried away by Dikan. Spartak launched a rare attack just after the 20-minute mark, with Alex finding space on the left of the penalty area but firing over. But Nicolas Pareja's foul on Ayew allowed Lucho Gonzalez to deliver a left-wing free-kick which found Cheyrou, only for Pareja to redeem himself with an important block. And the defender was himself handed a sight of goal from a set-piece as Ayew brought down Alex. Pareja's shot, though, rebounded off the wall. From that point it was all Marseille until the interval, with Brandao volleying over before another long-range effort from the wasteful Ayew also cleared the crossbar. Brandao twice threatened with headers, but was off target from Ayew's cross before Dikan saved his next effort and also repelled Cheyrou in stoppage time. Brandao shot wide from long range early in the second half before Spartak's Yevgeny Makeev followed suit. Pareja blocked another Cheyrou drive before Dikan saved Brandao's header, while Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda had to turn Ibson's header over the bar. Gignac replaced Brandao and was denied by Marek Suchy's block before Dikan parried a trademark 20-yard drive from full-back Taye Taiwo. Pareja blocked Edouard Cisse's header from Mathieu Valbuena's corner and Dikan blocked Lucho's close-range effort as Marseille went close to a breakthrough. Dikan saved from Valbuena and Lucho headed over and then shot wide, but the hosts' pressure was to come to nothing. Dmitri Kombarov broke down the left and sent in a low cross which Azpilicueta could only deflect through the legs of Mandanda and into his own goal. The defender saw an effort blocked by the impressive Pareja as he sought to immediately make amends, Ayew remained wayward and Cisse volleyed wide. The best chance was to come in stoppage time, though, when Gignac's drive crashed off the outside of the post and away to safety.

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