A very late Andre Ayew header snatched a point for the visiting Marseille against Fenerbahce in the opening Group C Europa League match that finished 2-2.
A few changes to the side that beat Nancy 1-0 at the weekend with Loic Remy coming in for Andre-Pierre Gignac and Morgan Amalfitano returning from injury to take a place in the starting lineup, new loan signing Joey Barton also made his Marseille debut.
Marseille started the game well and threatened early on when Andre Ayew had a header tipped onto the bar by Volkan Demirel. The French side continued to keep possession ten minutes into the game but Fenerbahce settled down and began to even out the balance of possession but failed to thread Moussa Sow in and the Marseille centre back’s N’Koulou and N’Diaye dealt with the through balls easily. Marseille created a few chances for Amalfitano and Remy but failed to find the back of the net, but it was Fenerbahce that opened the scoring through Caner Erkin, played in on the left hand side he then smashed home a half volley in between the legs of the helpless Steve Mandanda who like the rest of the team was left stunned.
The game continued to run it’s course until halftime with neither side creating anything, the two teams returned for the second half with Marseille’s Mathieu Valbuena being denied by Volkan. Marseille continued to create chances and Andre Ayew had an opportunity to equalise when his close range sliding attempt hit the crossbar thanks to a superb cross by Loic Remy. Fenerbahce doubled their lead to the delight of the home fans when their captain Alex headed home a Mehmet Topuz cross, Marseille looked down and out.
With Gignac replacing Remy and Jordan Ayew coming on for new boy Joey Barton Elie Baup attempted to revitalise his side. Fenerbahce looked home and dry with 10 minutes to go until out of nowhere Mathieu Valbuena struck a shot into the bottom right corner to give the French side hope. The clock ticked on and Marseille continued to create opportunities but failed to capitalise on their pressure until the dying seconds when Andre Ayew guided the ball past Volkan with his head to draw level and silence the home crowd. Fenerbahce kicked off but straight away the referee blew for full time sealing the comeback draw for Marseille who will no doubt be elated with the spirit and determination to snatch a point in Turkey in the opening game of Group C.
Report by Callum Gough @CRG06