A below-par Olympique de Marseille were held to a 0-0 draw by Montpellier Hérault SC at the Orange Vélodrome on Sunday, a result that dents their hopes of a top-three finish.
Olympique de Marseille 0 - 0 Montpellier Hérault SC
The stakes were high here, with Marseille having seen Olympique Lyonnais move above them into third after winning 5-0 at FC Metz earlier in the day. OM were missing several key players, including top scorer Florian Thauvin, goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and defensive duo Adil Rami and Jorge Rolando.
A stubborn Montpellier had already played out goalless draws with Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon and AS Monaco this season and they were looking to extend their unbeaten run to improve their own prospects of European qualification.
Michel Der Zakarian's side succeeded in stifling OM, who came closest to scoring when Morgan Sanson - playing against his old club - brought the ball down beautifully in the area and drilled in a low shot that rebounded off the upright (55').
Konstantinos Mitroglou then came off the bench and almost got the breakthrough midway through the second half, sticking out a leg to turn a Bouna Sarr cross towards goal only for Benjamin Lecomte to react superbly and make the save.
Montpellier are unbeaten in nine Ligue 1 Conforama games now, but have drawn six of those games and are sixth. They are a point behind Stade Rennais FC in fifth in the fight for Europa League qualification. Having been five points ahead of OL before hosting their rivals in Week 30, Marseille now trail Lyon on goal difference.
THE PLAYER: Dimitri Payet
Payet has been a key contributor for OM in 2018 and they needed him at his best here, especially with Florian Thauvin. However, the former West Ham United star had a quiet evening as Marseille were shut out.
THE STAT: 6
Montpellier have now been involved in six goalless draws this season.