Champions League - Marseille leave it late against Inter

Wed, 22 Feb 21:56:00 2012

A dramatic injury-time header from Andre Ayew earned Marseille a 1-0 win over Internazionale in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at Stade Vélodrome.

André Jordan Ayew Olympique Marseille AP/LaPresse - 0

With the game heading for a draw, Ayew headed a Mathieu Valbuena corner past Julio Cesar in the second minute of stoppage time to earn the Ligue 1 side a crucial win and heap more pressure on beleaguered Inter coach Claudio Ranieri.

It was a sixth defeat in seven for Inter, winners of this competition two years ago. But the visitors had a great chance to open the scoring in the 11th minute when Diego Forlan got on the end of Esteban Cambiasso's cross but saw his half-volley tipped over the bar by Steve Mandanda.

Just under 10 minutes later, a cross into the Inter box was only cleared as far as Cesar Azpilicueta. He hit a shot on the volley but it fizzed just over the bar.

On the half-hour mark a Marseille free-kick caused confusion in the Inter defence as they stepped out to catch their opponents offside. The set-play was swung into the box but a combination of Ayew and Souleymane Diawara contrived to put the ball out of play.

Inter had a good chance to go in front on 37 minutes. Mauro Zarate met Cambiasso's pull-back but opted to place his shot and it was easily saved. If he's gone for power, he could well have found the net.

The second half continued in much the same vein with a patient build-up by both sides but little in the way of goalmouth action. Indeed, neither goalkeeper was really tested until the 74th minute when Wesley Sneijder’s free-kick was met by Dejan Stankovic but he could only stab his shot straight at Mandanda.

Ayew nodded Amalfitano’s cross wide in Marseille’s best chance of the second period and the same man saw a shot clawed behind for a corner in the dying seconds.

From the resulting set-play Ayew lost his marker, Cristian Chivu to head home and give Marseille a slender advantage ahead of the second leg.

Tom Harvey / Eurosport

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