PARIS (Reuters) – Olympique de Marseille bounced back from a dismal first half to claim a 1-1 home draw against Monaco in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Alexis Sanchez netted the equaliser early in the second half after Jordan Veretout’s own goal put Monaco ahead as OM stayed third in the table with 43 points from 20 games, five ahead of fourth-placed Monaco.
Marseille, however, failed to leapfrog RC Lens into second place after the northerners were also held to a 1-1 draw, at Troyes earlier on Saturday.
Paris St Germain, who host Stade de Reims on Sunday, lead with 47 points.
At the Velodrome, Veretout headed Aleksandr Golovin’s free kick into his own net after 17 minutes, giving Monaco a deserved lead after Eliesse Ben Seghir and Vanderson had early chances.
Marseille keeper Ruben Blanco kept them afloat on the half-hour mark with a decisive save to deny Wissam Ben Yedder as Monaco piled on the pressure.
But Marseille pushed on after the interval and Sanchez poked the ball home after keeper Alexander Nuebel parried Cengiz Under’s strike into his path on 47 minutes.
They could have taken the lead in the 73rd, only for Leonardo Balerdi’s header to crash onto the crossbar.
Earlier, Adrien Thomasson’s late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for Lens at Troyes but the visitors missed the opportunity to move level on points with PSG.
Second-half substitute Thomasson found the back of the net with two minutes left to cancel out Yasser Larouci’s opener and put second-placed Lens on 45 points from 20 games.
“We could have done better, we dominated so much against a team who defended thoroughly,” said Thomasson.
“We saved a point but we can be disappointed.”
Lens dominated possession and created chances but lacked a cutting edge in the first half.
Troyes, who stayed compact, grew bolder after the break and were rewarded in the 50th minute when Larouci scored his first goal as a professional with a low, angled shot.
It spurred the visitors into action and Florian Sotoca went close on the hour with a header that was tipped over the bar by Gauthier Gallon.
Lens eventually levelled when Thomasson, who joined from Racing Strasbourg earlier this month, fired home after Wesley Said’s attempt was deflected into his path by Gallon.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Olympique de Marseille v AS Monaco – Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France – Jauary 28, 2023 Olympique de Marseille’s Alexis Sanchez in action with AS Monaco’s Vanderson REUTERS/Eric Gaillard