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Les Olympiens leave Lions starving in Lisbon

Olympique de Marseille stormed to a 2-0 win over nine-man Sporting CP at the Estádio José Alvalade, registering a first-ever historic away win in Portugal in nine visits.

If there was any hope of making it further in Europe for Marseille, let alone the UEFA Champions League (UCL), they had to come with a win away at Sporting. Luckily for the visitors, an early penalty brought along with it a second yellow card in the space of two minutes for Ricardo Esigao, who was directed towards the dressing room following a brace of successive cynical challenges. Desperate for a win that would lift them off the bottom place in Group D, Marseille opened the scoring via Matteo Guendouzi, who banged the spot-kick in off the left post, leaving no chance for Franco Israel to save it.

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A moment of drama then ensued on the half-hour mark, when Alexis Sánchez’s tap-in on the back of a brilliant team move was ruled out for offside. However, VAR intervened to signal no breach of the Leões’ defensive line, handing Igor Tudor’s men a second of the evening. Having been rendered helpless from their earlier shortcomings, the Portuguese hosts couldn’t help but focus on not conceding further, entering HT two-goals down.

Sporting fell apart on the hour mark, as Pedro Gonçalves first committed a harsh tackle and earned a yellow card, before talking out of turn to referee Alejandro Hernández. Without thinking twice, the no-nonsense official showed a red, leaving the hosts with just nine players on the pitch. Marseille showed no remorse for Sporting’s state thereafter, continuing to bombard the home side with constant attacks. Ultimately the victim of their own doings, Rúben Amorim’s side succumbed to a sixth UCL loss at home in 12 matches since October 2016.

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Winning all three points means that Les Olympiens jump into the top two with just two matchdays remaining. They remain one point behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur, who visit the Orange Vélodrome on November 1, before which they take on Eintracht Frankfurt.

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