Ligue 1-leading Marseille misses chances, settles for draw with Lorient
PARIS (AP) — Marseille's top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac saw his goal-bound shot saved with just seconds remaining as the French league leader missed several chances in a 1-1 draw at Lorient on Tuesday.
Marseille took the lead on Lorient's plastic pitch in the 32nd minute when winger Dimitri Payet cut inside from the left, beat two defenders and curled a shot into the top right corner.
Lorient equalized five minutes later after Benjamin Jeannot charged onto a long ball and was floored by Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Former Marseille forward Jordan Ayew scored the penalty. The draw meant two-time defending champion Paris Saint-Germain — which is unbeaten in 21 games this season — can move into first place by beating struggling Lille on Wednesday, although star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been rested.
Gignac, the league's co-top scorer on 11 goals with Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette, held his head in his hands when he failed to score with just 10 seconds left in injury time. A loose ball fell to him but Gignac's shot was slightly too close to goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
"We could have finished the game off but we didn't take our chances. We dropped two points tonight," Marseille defender Jeremy Morel said. "Of course it's disappointing. Let's hope it doesn't count against us too much at the end (of the season)."
There were chances for Marseille, even before Gignac's last-gasp effort. With 20 minutes remaining, Gignac missed a similar chance to score following a mistake from Lecomte, who came to gather Payet's cross, crashed into the back of defender Vincent Le Goff and spilled the ball. Lurking near the penalty spot, Gignac latched onto the ball and hit a powerful low shot that Le Goff kicked away.
Marseille then had two chances in quick succession. Substitute Michy Batshuayi saw his shot kicked off the line after running onto a clever pass from Payet, and moments later Lecomte comfortably saved Gignac's glancing header following a corner. With Marseille pushing hard, Lecomte smartly denied Batshuayi after he controlled Gignac's downward header, span and struck a low shot that was heading for the bottom corner until the 'keeper kicked it away.
Elsewhere in France, Toulouse won at FC Nantes, 2-1. Defender Issiaga Sylla swept the ball in from close range to put Toulouse in front midway through the first half, but midfielder Jordan Veretout equalized with a penalty midway through the second half following a handball.
Danish forward Martin Braithwaite got Toulouse's winner in the 85th, expertly controlling a cross from the left with one touch and dispatching a powerful shot past goalkeeper Remy Riou with his right foot.