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Marseille rescue a point against Lille

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-24

Trailing by two goals after a lacklustre first half, Marseille fought back against a sprightly Lille to level the score in the dying seconds of the game and claw back to within one point of second-placed Nice.

Substitute Boudewijn Zenden scored with a last minute free-kick to give Marseille a 2-2 draw with Lille on Sunday and hammer home his case to face former club Liverpool in the Champions League in midweek.

Marseille were 2-0 down at their Velodrome home with Adil Rami opening the scoring after 10 minutes and Michel Bastos adding the second in the 36th.

Eric Gerets' side looked doomed to suffer a second successive home defeat but Mamadou Samassa pulled one back just a minute into the second half before Zenden rescued a point in the second minute of injury time.

The Dutch international curled in a free-kick after Hatem Ben Arfa had been dragged down outside the box.

The result left Marseille, who must win at Liverpool on Wednesday to keep their Champions League hopes alive, in third place in the French first division, six points behind leaders Lyon who lost 1-0 at Paris Saint Germain on Saturday.

Nice occupy second place, a point ahead of Marseille, after a 1-0 win at Saint Etienne on Saturday.

PSG gave notice that they are becoming a force to be reckoned with again in France by handing reigning champions Lyon a shock defeat at the Parc des Princes.

Ludovic Giuly netted the only goal midway through the first half and PSG held on to vault into the top five as Lyon ended the contest with ten men, Brazilian stalwart Juninho dismissed in the closing stages.

To add insult to injury, the seven-times champions, who lost to PSG for the first time in 12 meetings, will be without defender Anthony Reveillere, who suffered knee ligament damage, against Fiorentina in the Champions League.

Former Monaco, Barcelona and Roma man Giuly nodded home from a probing Ceara cross for his third goal of the season to galvanise a 48,000 crowd.

Former giants Saint Etienne sank to the foot of the league after their seventh straight league loss, 1-0 at home to Nice, although coach Alain Perrin insisted he saw some chinks of light despite Olivier Echouafni's headed clincher.

"We're very frustrated of course - but I saw some encouraging signs. We can get out of this," insisted coach Alain Perrin, who took over from sacked Laurent Roussey but has now overseen a 3-0 thumping at Lille and the Nice reverse.

"We didn't deserve this. We have to keep working hard and if we keep playing like we did tonight we will gain some reward," added the former Lyon and Portsmouth boss.

Saint Etienne, where Michel Platini, now UEFA president, made his name in the 1970s and early 1980s, has lost 11 of 15 league games and scored just eight goals all season.

Elsewhere, UEFA Cup aspirants Bordeaux and Rennes parted 1-1 in the southwest.

Yoann Gourcuff, who had promised that the Girondins would bounce back from last week's loss at Lyon which put a major crimp in Bordeaux's title hopes, netted against his former club to save a point after Olivier Thomert had put Rennes into a 20th-minute lead.

Rennes are fourth in the table, a point behind Marseille.

Toulouse missed a chance to keep pace with Nice after they slid to a 1-0 loss at a Lorient side which last week stunned Marseille by winning a five-goal thriller at the Stade Velodrome.

This time Gameiro was on hand 15 minutes from time to secure the points for the Bretons, who consolidated their mid-table status.

Date created : 2008-11-23