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France round-up: Marseille miss out

Olympique de Marseille failed to go top as they were defeated 4-1 at RC Strasbourg on Friday night.

Olympique de Marseille missed the chance to move to the top of Ligue 1 as they were defeated 4-1 at RC Strasbourg on Friday night.

Firm header
Marseille kicked off one point behind leaders AS Monaco FC, but were always on the back foot against a spirited and well-organised Strasbourg side. The home side pressed forward from the first whistle against the side with the best defensive record in the French top flight and took the lead midway through the first half, midfield player Corentin Martins scoring with a powerful far-post header.

Decisive spell
Steve Marlet capitalised on uncertainty in the home defence to equalise 13 minutes later, but two goals just before half-time put the home side in complete command. Striker Mamadou Niang was on hand to convert after Marseille goalkeeper Vedran Runje had saved well from Danijel Ljuboja before in added time, Ljuboja got on the scoresheet himself, finding the target with a superb free-kick.

Penalty drama
The game continued in similar pattern after the interval, before the home side won a penalty in the 70th minute, only for Strasbourg midfield player Christian Bassila to be sent off after striking Sébastien Perez. Runje stopped Ljuboja's penalty with a fine one-handed saved, but was beaten again in the closing stages. With Marseille pushing forward, Strasbourg counterattacked swiftly and Fabrice Ehret rounded off an impressive win that saw Strasbourg rise to fourth in the table.