Marseille and Lyon’s struggles continue in draw, Rennes stay top


Paris (AFP) – Marseille and Lyon continued their shaky starts to the season on Sunday with a 1-1 draw that leaves both sides languishing in mid-table in Ligue 1.

Marseille are 10th on nine points following the draw at the Groupama stadium while Rudi Garcia’s Lyon, who reached the semi-finals of last season’s Champions League, are two points and four places back.

Andre Villas-Boas’ Marseille have not won in the four matches since they beat Paris Saint-Germain last month while Lyon’s winless run already stretches to five matches in the six-game-old season.

The hosts have drawn four of those matches and struggled to break down Marseille even though the away side played most of the match with 10 men following Dmitri Payet’s 19th-minute red card for a high challenge on Leo Dubois.

Marseille had taken the lead thanks to talisman Payet’s smart finish just three minutes before he was sent off, but Houssem Aouar levelled from the penalty spot just before the half hour mark and that’s how the scores remained.

Aouar, who was set to be leaving in the summer transfer window which closes on Monday, thought he had also scored the winner with 14 minutes remaining only to see his goal ruled out for what looked like a soft foul on Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda.

“In the circumstances it’s a good point which gives us some confidence,” said Villas Boas.

“I’m happy because the players gave everything, we rediscovered the spirit that we has last season.”

Earlier Rennes clung on to top spot in Ligue 1 after scrabbling to a 2-2 home with Reims which allowed Lille to move level on points with the leaders with a 3-0 win at Strasbourg.

Rennes were leading at the break and were set to go back clear in first place but Boulaye Dia barged through the home defence before slotting home the goal that would give Reims a point in the 66th minute.

Lille meanwhile stormed to victory in Alsace thanks to goals from Zeki Celik, Renato Sanches and Burak Yilmaz which maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

Both sides are on 14 points, one ahead of newly-promoted Lens, who drop down to third but are on a storming run after beating 10-time league champions Saint-Etienne 2-0 on Saturday.

Champions PSG meanwhile are lurking ominously a further point back in fourth after destroying Angers 6-1 on Friday night.

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