Ligue 1 - Batlles earns point for leaders

Sun, 03 Oct 03:04:00 2010

Saint Etienne midfielder Laurent Batlles scored against champions Olympique Marseille to earn a 1-1 draw for the surprise Ligue 1 leaders.

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Led by France internationals Dimitri Payet and Blaise Matuidi, St Etienne's pace caused endless problems but they fell behind when Andre-Pierre Gignac opened his Marseille account.

The France striker, who joined from Toulouse in August for a fee of 18 million euros, struck in the 27th minute after a ricochet off the referee.

Batlles then equalised against his old club just before the hour and St Etienne might even have snatched victory at the end when Matuidi's shot was tipped over by Steve Mandanda.

"We wanted to close the gap (on the leaders), but they showed they are really strong this season, so this is a good point (away from home)," goalkeeper Mandanda said.

"Marc would like to play but I shall not give him the green light until he is 100 per cent fit", said Jean Tigana, coach of the 2009 champions who lie 13th, eight points off the pace and just ahead of Lorient on goal difference.

St Etienne have 17 points from eight games, two ahead of Stade Rennes who host third-placed Toulouse on Sunday. Marseille are five points behind the leaders in sixth.

Reuters

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