So strong away, OM remains awfully unremarkable at home, where they have not won since early January and a 3-1 success against Lorient. Since then, Igor Tudor's side have taken just three points from five games played in Marseille, three draws and two defeats.

Difficult in these conditions to believe the title possible, even in case of collapse of Paris SG. And as for several weeks, it is rather behind them that the Marseillais look. They see the Lensois, who will play in Rennes on Saturday and who are only three lengths away.

While waiting for the rest, there is not much to save from the game delivered Friday by OM, never mastered and which could certainly have tipped over to Montpellier (11th), to the solidity decidedly found.

With several players back tired of their time in the selection, without Pau Lopez, sick this week and too diminished, but with the surprise Vitinha, lined up in front of Ruslan Malinovskyi and Alexis Sanchez, OM has experienced a very painful first period.

The satisfaction of Montpellier Mamadou Sakho (l) and Valère Germain after the draw against Marseille, on March 31, 2023 at the Stade Vélodrome © NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

From the 12th minute, Montpellier validated its good start to the match by the opening score by Arnaud Nordin, a goal scored after a counter launched by a powerful run by Wahbi Khazri and after a very long video check.

Despite Payet

OM then played without rhythm and without accuracy, which was rather on the side of Khazri, Elye Wahi or Téji Savanier. The Tudor team, always borrowed at home, even went through a few moments of real panic, or even big anything, when Montpellier launched its counter-attacks.

Just before the break, the Marseillais returned to the score, thanks to a penalty conceded by the very Parisian Mamadou Sakho, whose entry on the pitch, jersey flocked N.75, in place of Kiki Kouyaté injured, had been greeted a little earlier by a thunderous bronca.

Marseille's Chancel Mbemba (r) wrestles with Montpellier's Wahbi Khazri, on March 31, 2023 at the Stade Vélodrome © NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

On a Sanchez retake, the former Parisian touched the ball with his elbow and was penalized. While Jordan Veretout and Sanchez were discussing who was going to strike, it was Mattéo Guendouzi who took the ball and left them no choice: by hitting cross into Benjamin Lecomte's small net, he put OM back on level (1-1, 44th).

After the break, from poorly played shots to poorly assured passes, OM did not offer much more. Vitinha, again not very convincing, was not dangerous and Dimitri Payet, who played the last quarter of an hour, could not change things either.

Marseillais Mattéo Guendouzi equalizes on penalty kick against Montpellier, on March 31, 2023 at the Stade Vélodrome © NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

In the end, it was even Montpellier who came closest to success when Khazri pardoned OM by shooting alongside him while he was in an excellent position (66th).

Next week, the Marseillais will go to Lorient, very, very far from this Velodrome where they are no longer advancing. It may do them good, but this weakness at home could end up being crippling.

© 2023 AFP