Olympique de Marseille suffered a shock defeat by FC Metz at the weekend as a spate of injuries look set to derail their preparations for the return leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie against Bolton Wanderers FC at the Stade Vélodrome. The French side held on to a battling goalless draw in the first encounter, and Sam Allardyce's team were again frustrated at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
FC Metz 1-0 Olympique de Marseille
Marseille lost further ground in the race for a UEFA Champions League spot as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Metz on Sunday. Despite dominating their Ligue 1 opponents, Babacar Gueye scored the winner three minutes from time to give basement club Metz all three points and leave Marseille seventh in the table. Midfielder Samir Nasri is hoping for an immediate response, saying: "We proved too untidy to undo a good team who got the result in the end. Now we need to bounce back against Bolton".
Coach Jean Fernandez missed the game due to illness and his recovery will not be aided by viewing the side's lengthy injury list. Slovenian centre-back Bostjan Cesar had to leave the pitch against Metz after suffering a facial injury, while midfielder Sabri Lamouchi is out until early March with an on-going groin problem. Meanwhile, full-back Jérôme Bonnissel (rib) and midfield anchor José Delfim (knee), who both missed the weekend defeat, are hopeful of returns on Thursday.
Bolton Wanderers FC 0-0 West Ham United FC
Sam Allardyce's side were left to rue a disallowed second-half goal as their FA Cup fifth round tie against fellow Premiership outfit West Ham finished in a stalemate on Saturday. Greek international Stylianos Giannakopoulos thought he had scored for the home side in the second half, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside, and in the end the Bolton manager was grateful to earn a replay. "We produced so much and come away with so little," he said. "There was even a chance at the end that West Ham might have scored."
Bolton were lifted by Gary Speed's return to the starting lineup following a six-week absence, while Hidetoshi Nakata returned from suspension. Radhi Jaidi also came into the side as Bruno N'Gotty, Abdoulaye Faye and Jared Bogetti were all rested. El Hadji Diouf is still sidelined after suffering a hernia problem while on African Cup of Nations duty with Senegal.
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