FRANKFURT, Germany (AP)Marseille paid the price for poor defending when it lost 2-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday, but the last-place French team still has a chance of reaching the round of 16 of the Champions League.
A win at home to Tottenham next Tuesday would seal a place in the knockout stage for the 1993 champion. Marseille remains the only French side to have won the competition.
Tottenham has eight points at the top of Group D after a 1-1 home draw with Sporting Lisbon. Sporting and Frankfurt have seven points, with Marseille one point behind. All four teams can qualify in what promises to be a tense finish to the group.
Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada put Frankfurt ahead after just three minutes, following awful marking from Marseille. Forward Randal Kolo Muani made it 2-1 in the 27th, just five minutes after Marseille’s standout midfielder Matteo Guendouzi superbly volleyed in defender Chancel Mbemba’s cross.
Guendouzi’s goal came moments after Marseille goalkeeper Pau Lopez made a fine save to stop his side going 2-0 down.
On Frankfurt’s first goal, however, Marseille’s defense was fast asleep. For the second goal, Marseille had six players defending compared to three attackers yet still got opened up with ease as Kolo Muani swapped passes with Mario Goetze – Germany’s match-winner in the 2014 World Cup final – and swept the ball under Lopez.
Frankfurt won 1-0 in Marseille last month in a match marred by serious fan disorder. A Marseille fan is facing a preliminary charge of attempted murder after allegedly firing a distress flare that hit a Frankfurt fan in the neck and seriously injured him.
Marseille had lost its last three league games, and the defense is weaker without injured central defender Eric Bailly.
It was taken apart with ease on Frankfurt’s first attack. The home side broke down the left and moved the ball inside to Jesper Lindstrom – Frankfurt’s scorer in Marseille – who dummied it for Kamada to score with a crisp finish.
Marseille finished the first half strongly and Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp made a low save from Amine Harit in the 44th.
Trapp was well beaten by Alexis Sanchez’s superb lob from the edge of the penalty area in the 56th and was relieved to see the ball sail just wide. Moments later Trapp palmed away a curling free kick from Sanchez, the Chile veteran who joined in the offseason from Inter Milan.
With Sanchez starting to shine and Marseille getting on top, Marseille coach Igor Tudor made the strange decision to take off Guendouzi, his best midfielder, and the France international looked very frustrated.
Tudor, who was then cautioned by the referee for remonstrating, also left goal-scoring playmaker Dimitri Payet on the bench despite his side needing an equalizer.
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