Marseille Vs. Montpellier, 2012 Ligue 1: MHSC Go Three Clear Of PSG

Head coach Didier Deschamps of Marseille walks on the pitch during a training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League group F match against Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Marseille's season is effectively over after their loss to Montpellier, who went three points clear at the top of the table.

Montpellier have extended their lead to a full three points over Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 after a spectacular performance on Wednesday night at the Stade Velodrome. Marseille's chances of qualifying for Europe were already looking very slim heading into this match, but they appear to be effectively dead after MHSC's 3-1 win in Marseille.

In the 6th minute, Marseille's Djimi Traore gifted the visitors a dream start by committing a clear handball in the penalty area, for which he was shown a yellow card. Younés Belhanda stepped up and converted the penalty to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Montpellier looked like the more dangerous side for the entirety of the first half, but gave up a surprise goal in the 33rd minute, as they were undone by a set piece. Stéphane Mbia was the scorer, losing his marker as he got on the end of a headed pass by Brandão for a simple finish. The two sides headed into halftime tied at 1-1.

Shortly after the halftime break, Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock with his 19th goal of the Ligue 1 season. With Marseille pressuring and pushing high up the pitch, Montpellier won the ball back and Souleymane Camara took off on the counter. He beat multiple defenders on an incredibly impressive 60-yard run before playing a cross to Giroud, who had a fairly simple finish at the far post.

The clinching goal came on a finish that was anything but simple, scored by Belhanda in the 70th minute. He set himself up by taking a pass by Giroud off his chest, then blasting a brilliant scissor kick volley into the top corner of the net, giving Steve Mandanda no chance to make a save. Marseille controlled possession for the rest of the match, but wouldn't find a goal to get back into it.

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