Marseille keep title race alive
Marseille kept the Ligue 1 title race alive as Mathieu Valbuena's first-half goal earned them a 1-0 victory at Lorient.
Last Updated: 27/04/13 7:47pm
Marseille kept the Ligue 1 title race just about alive as Mathieu Valbuena's first-half goal earned them victory at Lorient.
The France midfielder followed up to score after Andre Ayew's effort had been saved to close the gap on leaders Paris St Germain to six points.
The capital club can re-establish a nine-point advantage if they win their game in hand at Evian on Sunday, though, with just 12 left to play for after that.
It was a fourth 1-0 win in five games for Marseille, who are getting into a habit of grinding out results.
The match ended on a sour note, though, with Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard and Ayew both sent off for clashing after the final whistle.
Valbuena looked lively from the off, bringing an excellent save out of Audard with a curling free-kick after seven minutes.
At the other end a neat move involving Maxime Barthelme, Jeremie Aliadiere and Maxime Baca created a shooting chance for Baca, but Steve Mandanda pushed it away.
Both keepers were being kept busy, with Audard at full stretch to keep out an Andre-Pierre Gignac shot from the edge of the area.
But Valbuena beat him in the 26th minute, scoring into an empty net after Audard had punched clear Ayew's shot from a Gignac cross.
Lorient had a chance to level before the break, but Mandanda pulled off a reflex save to stop Rod Fanni diverting Aliadiere's cross into his own net.
Mandanda saved Marseille again in the 72nd minute, producing a brilliant stop to keep out Barthelme's volley which looked headed for the top corner.
The keeper was saved by a post a minute later after Yann Jouffre freed Barthelme with a fine pass.
And, fittingly, Mandanda had the last word when he saved from Mathias Autret to ensured the visitors kept their slim title hopes alive.