Marseille and Monaco miss out on 2nd place after 2-2 draw
Monaco's Fabio Henrique Tavares Fabinho, left, reacts with Keita Balde, after scoring during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Monaco, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — Marseille and Monaco missed the chance to move up to second place in the French league after drawing 2-2 in a frenetic game on Sunday.
A win would have moved either team above Lyon, which stays second behind runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain despite earlier losing 3-1 at Bordeaux.
Lyon and Marseille are level on points, with Lyon ahead on goal difference. Both are 11 points behind PSG while defending champion Monaco stays fourth and trails PSG by 12 points.
It already looks more than likely that Lyon, Marseille and Monaco will scrap for second place behind PSG for the remaining 15 league matches. Monaco hosts Lyon next Sunday.
PSG crushed Montpellier 4-0 on Saturday and has the best attack with 72 goals in 23 games, as well as the best defense with only 17 conceded.
At Stade Velodrome, Marseille rallied from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 and finished the stronger side, going close late on through striker Valere Germain and midfielder Morgan Sanson.
Monaco inflicted heavy defeats on Marseille last season and perhaps it played on the players' minds at the start, since it took only four minutes for Monaco to open the scoring.
Dimitri Payet lost the ball in midfield for Marseille and Monaco surged forward. Sluggish center half Adil Rami failed to cover properly and striker Keita Balde broke free to score past goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
Rami made amends three minutes later by nodding in a close-range cross from winger Lucas Ocampos.
It was an almost identical start to the second half, but with the roles reversed. Marseille led through Germain in the 47th and Brazilian midfielder Fabinho equalized four minutes after.
Germain joined Marseille after playing an important part in Monaco's title-winning campaign. After a slow start, he is finding form. He punished his former teammates with a superb diving header at the front post from Payet's free kick on the right.
Then, Fabinho grabbed the goal of the night.
He dribbled past two defenders on the edge of the penalty area, fooled defender Hiroki Sakai by feigning to shoot, and then stepped inside him before slotting the ball under Mandanda from near the penalty spot.
Monaco thought it had regained the lead in the 56th through Brazilian defender Jemerson's powerful header from a free kick. His effort was ruled out for offside when replays showed him to be onside.
Lyon's inconsistent defending resurfaced again as it slumped to a 3-1 loss away to a rejuvenated Bordeaux side.
Lyon entered the game full of confidence after beating PSG last Sunday and securing a midweek French Cup win at Monaco.
But for all of its potency in attack, Lyon remains prone to lapses in defense.
Bordeaux took an 11th-minute lead through striker Nicolas De Preville, who lofted the ball over goalkeeper Anthony Lopes following fine work from Brazilian forward Malcom.
Malcom doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 27th after being fouled.
Lyon replied in the 44th when Brazilian center back Marcelo headed in Nabil Fekir's corner, but Lopes then rushed needlessly off his line and forced over Bordeaux defender Maxime Poundje in first-half injury time. Striker Gaetan Laborde took this penalty instead of Malcom, coolly clipping the ball down the middle as Lopes dived left.
Bordeaux played the last 15 minutes with 10 men after Brazilian defender Otavio was sent off.
It was a successful first game in charge for Gus Poyet, the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder.
Bordeaux moved up to ninth.
Lille moved out of the relegation zone after beating Strasbourg 2-1 with Portuguese defender Edgar Ie scoring an injury-time winner with a neat half-volley.
Anwar El Ghazi put Lille ahead in the 76th minute but striker Idriss Saadi equalized two minutes later for midtable Strasbourg.
The win lifted Lille to 17th.