Marseille defeat opens Champions League door for Lens

·1-min read
Heads up: Lille forward Jonathan Bamba (left) challenges Marseille's Jordan Veretout
Heads up: Lille forward Jonathan Bamba (left) challenges Marseille's Jordan Veretout

Marseille slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Lille in Ligue 1 on Saturday, paving the way for Lens to grab second place and a spot in the Champions League group stages.

Jonathan Clauss gave Marseille the lead in the 29th minute with both goalkeeper Lucas Chevalier and defender Bafode Diakite making futile attempts to clear.

But Lille levelled thanks to Jonathan David's 22nd goal of the season courtesy of a 50th-minute penalty awarded when Marseille keeper Pau Lopez brought down teenage Cameroon midfielder Carlos Baleba.

Marseille's Alexis Sanchez had a goal ruled out for offside on the hour mark before Jonathan Bamba headed the winner for Lille in the 72nd minute from a cross by Remy Cabella.

The result left Marseille third on 73 points, two behind Lens who travel to Lorient on Sunday.

"We are sad because we wanted to win. We had opportunities. They had opportunities," said Marseille coach Igor Tudor.

On the chances of ending the season in second place, Tudor added: "As long as it is mathematically possible, we will try. It seems very difficult but in any case, we are having a very good season."

Should Marseille end the season in third, they will have to take their chances in the Champions League preliminary round and then possibly a play-off to make the lucrative group stages.

For Lille, victory kept them in fifth with a spot in the Europa Conference League within reach.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Nantes slipped closer to relegation after a 3-0 home loss to Montpellier.