Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille cancelled each other out in a disappointing Ligue 1 encounter that damages the title aspirations of both clubs, who have lost ground on Paris Saint-Germain at the summit of the table.
It was a fixture that received top billing yet failed to produce as neither side had the offensive quality to produce a goal in a match that will not live long in the memory.
Somewhat surprisingly, it was Marseille, which has become renowned as a gritty and rather defensive team this season, which fashioned the better chances over the course of the game, with Andre-Pierre Gignac the main catalyst in the first period.
OM’s top scorer went close on a trio of occasions in the opening 45 minutes, but the closest he came was a curling shot from the edge of the box that beat Remy Vercoutre in the home goal but also skidded past the post.
Lyon was a very limited offensive threat throughout this game as Marseille’s dogged approach persistently stifled the club, though there was more life to the team in the minutes after the restart. While the strikers struggled to produce, it was left back Samuel Umtiti who had the best of a series of long-range drives that were clutched uncomfortably by Steve Mandanda in the visiting net.
Much of the pressure late on, though, came from the Provence outfit. Andre Ayew sent a very powerful header just past the post as the visiting side threatened from corner kicks and other set pieces around the box.
With 10 minutes to go referee Clement Turpin waved away vehement penalty appeals from OM by awarding a free kick to the home side as he adjudged Milan Bisevac to have been fouled before he handled a cross into the box.
While the fare on offer was not in any way attractive, PSG will have been delighted with what they saw at Stade Gerland as the lead over Lyon at the peak of Le Championnat is now up to a healthy five points. Marseille, meanwhile, is three marks further back and embroiled in a tussle for third along with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Lille.
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