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Marseille see Euro hopes fade further

Publish on 03/05/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Olympique de Marseille's hopes of qualifying for Europe faded further on Friday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by RC Strasbourg Alsace at the Stade de la Meinau.

RC Strasbourg Alsace  1 - 1  Olympique de Marseille 

THE MATCH

Marseille came into this game five points adrift of AS Saint-Etienne in fourth, the one qualifying berth for the Europa League open through the league. Rudi Garcia's side therefore desperately needed a victory from their trip to Alsace to keep the pressure on, but they failed to hold onto the lead given to them by Valère Germain early in the second half.

Florian Thauvin was again missing from the Marseille line-up, but Adil Rami and Kevin Strootman both came back into the visitors' starting line-up for the first meeting of the clubs since Strasbourg won on penalties at the Orange Vélodrome in the Coupe de la Ligue in December, on the way to winning the trophy.

In a first half of few chances, Luiz Gustavo came closest to scoring for OM as he burst into the penalty box before being denied by Matz Sels. However, Marseille did get the breakthrough just after the restart as Mario Balotelli and Hiroki Sakai combined to set up Germain to fire into the net from 20 yards for his eighth goal of the campaign (47').

Duje Ćaleta-Car hit the post moments later but Strasbourg were handed the chance to get back into the game midway through the second half when Rami fouled Ludovic Ajorque in the area. Jonas Martin stepped up to take the penalty, but his kick was saved by Steve Mandanda, who also blocked Adrien Thomasson's follow-up. However, the ball came back to Kenny Lala to score (65').

That was the end of the scoring, and Thierry Laurey's Strasbourg side - who certainly will be in Europe next season - can be the happier of the two teams with the result. They have now held OM, Saint-Etienne, Paris Saint-Germain, LOSC and Olympique Lyonnais at home this season.

THE PLAYER: Adil Rami

It has been an utterly forgettable season for Rami since he won the World Cup with France. This was just his second start of 2019 but his night will be remembered for the penalty he conceded in the second half for a clumsy tackle on Ajorque, allowing Strasbourg back into the game. It was the 12th penalty conceded by OM this season, the third by Rami.

THE STAT: 50

Germain's goal was his 50th in the top flight in 197 appearances.