Marseille miss chance to go top of Ligue 1

35

Marseille missed the chance to reclaim top spot in Ligue 1 when David N'Gog's 90th-minute goal rescued a 2-2 draw for Reims at the Stade Velodrome on Friday. Marseille overcame Nicola de Preville's fifth-minute opener to lead 2-1 thanks to second-half goals from Dimitri Payet and Andre Ayew, but they were denied a 12th consecutive league win at home when N'Gog struck at the death. The draw means second-placed Marseille close to within a point of league leaders Lyon, but Hubert Fournier's men can extend their advantage at the top of the standings to four points if they win at Lorient on Sunday. Reims, meanwhile, remain 13th and are without a win in their last seven matches in all competitions. Les Olympiens had not dropped a point at the Stade Velodrome since their second league match of the season, when they came unstuck against Montpellier, but Reims made the perfect start when De Preville slotted home on the rebound, after Prince Oniangue's shot had hit the post, to give his side a fifth-minute lead. Marseille were finding it difficult to break down a resolute Reims defence and goalkeeper Kossi Agassa was at his athletic best to keep out a curling right-foot shot from Payet in the 25th minute. The visiting stopper was stranded 10 minutes later when an Ayew header appeared destined for the top corner but, much to his and Reims' relief, it sailed inches wide. Marseille began the second half brightly and were level 13 minutes after the restart when Payet's powerful shot rifled into the top of the net after some fine approach play from Andre-Pierre Gignac. The hosts took the lead shortly before the hour mark when Ayew tapped home from close range after Antoine Devaux failed to adequately clear Payet's corner. Reims reacted positively to going behind and after striker Gaetan Charbonnier hit the crossbar with a thunderous volley, N'Gog earned a well-deserved point for the visitors when his last-gasp header beat Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda at the near post.