Poor Marseille held to home draw by Toulouse

Steven Fletcher

Steven Fletcher

Marseille’s hopes of qualifying for Europe look all but over after they were held to an entertaining 1-1 draw by struggling Toulouse at the Velodrome on Sunday.

Marseille missed a host of good chances, and Wissam Ben Yedder ran clear to slot Toulouse ahead in the 55th minute.

But in Pascal Dupraz’s first game in charge, the away defence imploded as they have done all season, as Somalia put through his own net with 16 minutes to play.

Coach Michel has come under increased pressure in recent weeks, but Marseille would have expected to end an 11-match streak without a home win in the league against relegation-threatened Toulouse.

But instead they were held and stay seven points off the top three, and with Lyon playing later on Sunday that gap could quickly become eight.

Toulouse remain second-from-bottom in the table and nine points from safety.

The hosts desperately needed all three points to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, and they started brightly with plenty of early crosses being sent in the direction of Steven Fletcher.

The Scot set up a decent chance for Remy Cabella, but his powerful strike was beaten clear by Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont.

The 17-year-old had to be alert again soon after, getting down quickly to keep out a low effort from Michy Batshuayi.

The best chance of the first half fell to Marseille full-back Mauricio Isla, but the Chilean was denied by the right boot of Lafont at point-blank range.

But Michel’s side were punished for their profligacy in front of goal when Ben Yedder raced through to give Toulouse an unlikely lead.

The home defence were caught sleeping and the 25-year-old forward took advantage with a cool finish for his tenth league goal of the season.

Toulouse were hanging on desperately as they looked to end a 10-match run without a win, and for just a fourth league clean sheet of the season.

But they shot themselves in the foot as Lafont spilled the ball straight to Fletcher, whose deflected effort was miskicked into his own net by Somalia.

Yann Bodiger almost restored Toulouse’s advantage, but Steve Mandanda produced an excellent flying save from the substitute’s rising drive.

Suddenly Marseille were struggling, but they were indebted to their keeper again as Mandanda brilliantly kept out Oscar Trejo with a one-handed stop.

Martin Braithwaite also had a glorious opportunity to win the game for Toulouse, but the Dane blazed over when he should have scored.

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