Auxerre fight for OM point, Lille denied again
Marseille's uncertain start to the new Ligue 1 season continued as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Auxerre today. OM's title challenge had got off to a stuttering start last weekend, with the 2010 champions having to come from behind to draw at home to Sochaux.
However, they got off to a perfect start here, with France striker Loic Remy netting his tenth goal in ten starts for club and country after just three minutes from Mathieu Valbuena's free-kick. Marseille looked in complete command with Benoit Cheyrou firing wide and Lucho Gonzalez missing a glorious headed chance before an unmarked Andre Ayew headed home from Valbuena's corner just before the interval.
However, Auxerre got one back within a minute of the restart when Jeremy Morel blocked a Ben Sahar pass only for Alain Traore to blast home the loose ball. Substitute Roy Contout then ensured a share of the spoils when he headed in Dariusz Dudka's corner nine minutes from time, as Auxerre claimed their first point under new coach Laurent Fournier.
"It's unfortunate because we got off to such a good start," said Marseille midfielder Alou Diarra. "I don't know if we were a bit complacent after half-time but the two goals we conceded were avoidable.
"We allowed them back into the game. We knew we wouldn't dominate the whole 90 minutes but we need to be more solid," the French international added in reference to a defence that has conceded eight goals in three competitive outings this season. "To dominate that much in the first-half and then collapse is a shame and it must go down as two points dropped. We need to put it right quickly."
Elsewhere today, newly-promoted Evian-Thonon-Gaillard registered a first Ligue 1 victory, Tunisian striker Saber Khalifa scoring the only goal of their game against Nice six minutes into the second-half. And in the day's later match, Lille's stuttering start to the new Ligue 1 campaign continued as last season's champions lost 1-0 at home to Montpellier.
Rudi Garcia's side were held to a 1-1 draw against Nancy on the opening weekend and a second-half strike from Olivier Giroud was enough for Montpellier to inflict a defeat on the double winners. In contrast, the victory for Montpellier means they have won their opening two games of the new season following last weekend's impressive 3-1 victory against Auxerre.
Lille were then denied a penalty when Eden Hazard went down under a challenge by Farry Bocaly but the Belgian international still came close to breaking the deadlock when his shot from range hit the side netting.
Montpellier took the lead against the run of play in the 70th minute when Giroud controlled the ball on his chest before coolly slotting past Lille goalkeeper Mickael Landreau. Hazard came close to drawing Lille level with eight minutes remaining, but his effort was well stopped by Pionnier before Utaka nearly doubled Montpellier's lead when he struck a post.