Inconsistent Marseille stumble in Ligue 1

Monaco's Portuguese midfielder Gelson Batalha Martins (3L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal their goal validated by the VAR during the French L1 football match between Olympique Marseille (OM) and AS Monaco at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, southern France on March 6, 2022.

Marseille's inconsistent home form could derail the club's European ambitions as they lost 1-0 to Monaco and slipped to third place in France's Ligue 1.

Both teams started the 27th round's final game on Sunday very cautiously. Marseille right back Valentin Rongier had the only decent chance of the first half with a low strike that goalkeeper Alexander Nubel palmed away in the 22nd minute.

Monaco played with more purpose after halftime and opened the scoring in the 58th when Portuguese winger Gelson Martins slotted home a rebound after Kevin Volland hit the post.

Marseille have won more points on the road than at Stade Velodrome this season and trail second-place Nice by two points, and leaders Paris Saint-Germain by 15.

We played much higher up the pitch in the second half, Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni told Amazon Prime video.

With more selflessness, we managed to put them under pressure. We knew physically that their levels would drop a bit.

The top two French clubs qualify for the Champions League group stage while the third-place team only enters the third qualifying round of the lucrative competition.

Monaco climbed to eighth place, five points outside the top four and a Europa League spot.

Fourth-place Rennes beat Angers 2-0 to move within a point of Marseille. Benjamin Bourigeaud opened the scoring in the 33rd and Gaetan Laborde, with his 14th league goal the season, doubled the lead from close range in the 87th.

Elsewhere, fifth-place Strasbourg conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Reims and Nantes sank Montpellier 2-0 to move into sixth place.

Defending champion Lille continued their late push for Europe by routing 10-man Clermont 4-0 to stay level on points with Nantes while Saint-Etienne defeated Metz 1-0 and climbed to 17th, one point above the relegation zone.

Troyes downed Bordeaux 2-0 to snap a five-game winless streak and move into 16th while bottom of the table Bordeaux were again booed off the pitch by home fans after the final whistle.

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