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Mitroglou rescues Marseille as Mandanda sets record

Paris (AFP) – Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou netted a late equaliser on his first Marseille start to salvage a point in Sunday’s 3-3 draw at Strasbourg as Steve Mandanda made a club record 453rd appearance.

Dimitri Payet gave Marseille the lead on five minutes, but Jean Eudes Aholou’s deflected shot pulled Strasbourg level before Morgan Sanson’s cross made it 2-1 to the visitors just after the break.

Bakary Kone powered in a corner as Strasbourg hit back and the hosts looked on course for just a second win on their return to the top flight when Dimitri Lienard struck on 74 minutes.

Stephane Bahoken poked against the post with Martin Terrier blasting wide from the follow-up as Strasbourg wasted a glorious chance to wrap up the three points.

It proved costly as Mitroglou, who scored three times on international duty to help Greece earn a World Cup play-off place, pounced on a rebound two minutes from time after a mistake from Bingourou Kamara. 

Mandanda, back in France after an unsuccessful spell at Crystal Palace last season, broke the long-standing record of former midfielder Roger Scotti, who played 452 times for Marseille in a career that lasted from 1942 to 1958.

Despite Mitroglou’s late rescue act, Marseille saw their three-match winning run in the league snapped as they finished the weekend eight points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain ahead of next weekend’s showdown at the Velodrome.

Nice slumped to a second successive defeat as they lost 2-0 at Montpellier after Mario Balotelli and Alassane Plea failed to convert a string of chances in a frustrating first half. 

“We had lots of chances to lead by two or three goals, but a match lasts 95 minutes,” lamented Nice coach Lucien Favre. “In the second half we struggled to maintain our rhythm that we had in the first half.”

Montpellier registered just a third win in nine matches with fine solo efforts from Benin international Stephane Sessegnon, on 54 minutes, and Isaac Mbenza, in the final quarter hour.

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