Marseille held to 0-0 at Bastia
PARIS (AP) — Marseille’s poor run of form continued in a gritty 0-0 draw at Bastia in the French league on Saturday.
Lacking a win in four matches, Marseille was looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in the Champions League but struggled to create chances.
Center-half Lucas Mendes tested Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau with a header from a corner midway through the second half, and the visitors were unlucky not to be awarded a late penalty when substitute Saber Khalifa was tripped by defender Francois-Joseph Modesto.
The draw means Marseille remains in fourth place and trails leader Monaco by two points and third-place Paris Saint-Germain by one point.
“The first 20 minutes were hard for us and then we started playing better,” Marseille coach Elie Baup said. “We have to keep working hard. We have a mature team that is capable of facing up to this kind of situation.”
Marseille has little time to rest before hosting second-place Saint-Etienne on Tuesday.
“We have to focus on the next match, even if it’s difficult to keep playing matches every 48 hours,” Baup said.
After starting the season well by scoring in the first three league games, Marseille forward Andre-Pierre Gignac’s form has dipped. He is without a goal in four games and Khalifa is pushing for a starting spot.
“I’m confident we will score goals,” Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda said.
League leader Monaco, which has played a game less, travels to big-spending rival Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.
Also on Saturday, it was: Evian 2, Montpellier 2; Reims 1, Guingamp 1; Rennes 2, Ajaccio 0, and Sochaux 0, Lille 2.
Rennes is in fifth place, Lille sixth and Reims seventh.
Midfielder Foued Kadir, who is on loan from Marseille, scored both goals for Rennes, while forward Nolan Roux got both for Lille against a Sochaux team that has yet to win and is bottom of the league.
Evian came back from 2-0 down to salvage a point thanks to goals from right back Daniel Wass and forward Moudu Sougu, another player on loan from Marseille. Goals from striker Victor Hugo Montano and winger Remy Cabella either side of halftime put former champion Montpellier in control.
In Sunday’s other games, it’s: Lorient vs. Bordeaux; Lyon vs. Nantes; and Nice vs. Valenciennes.