Lille and Marseille draw blank
Lille and Marseille had to settle for a goalless draw with the visitors indebted to goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
Last Updated: 15/04/13 3:20pm
Lille and Marseille had to settle for a goalless draw at the Grande Stade Lille Metropole as the visitors had goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to thank for securing a valuable point.
The visitors made a promising start and had an early penalty claim turned down when Andre Ayew went down under a Franck Beria challenge but referee Wilfried Bien waved play on.
Ayew and Andre-Pierre Gignac both found the target during the early exchanges but both shots lacked the accuracy to test Steve Elana in the Lille goal.
Lille began to find their feet in the 20th minute and Steve Mandanda had to be alert in the Marseille goal to save at the feet of Ronny Rodelin. Dimitri Payet leapt on the rebound but saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line by Lucas Mendes.
Salomon Kalou should have given the hosts the lead soon after but the Ivorian's header from close range was magnificently saved by Mandanda after Djibril Sidibe had picked him out.
As the first half drew to a close, Marseille's Benoit Cheyrou was lucky to stay on the pitch after he appeared to stamp on Martin before Mandanda was called upon again, this time palming away Payet's effort from the edge of the area.
The busy Payet still had time for a superb turn and shot before the break but an impressive Mandanda was on hand to save the visitors yet again with a diving stop.
Marseille came out in buoyant mood for the second half with Mathieu Valbuena playing in Gignac but the French international's effort was palmed away by Elana before Marko Basa completed the clearance.
In a similar vein to the first half though, Lille began to grow and Kalou went close again but his curling shot finished up narrowly wide of the left post.
With 20 minutes left on the clock Gignac and Ayew worked well to fashion a shooting opportunity for Jeremy Morel but his effort across Elana finished up just the wrong side of the post.
Disaster almost struck for the visitors when Marseille's Mendes turned Sidibe's cross towards his own goal but once again Mandanda was alert and made another great save to keep the scores level.
There was still time for Mandanda to be called upon again, this time keeping out a Payet free-kick, but in the end the visitors had their keeper to thank for the draw.