herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Marseille turn up heat on Ranieri

ANDRE Ayew was the hero as he headed home a corner deep into injury time as Marseille beat Inter Milan 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie to pile even more pressure on beleaguered Inter coach Claudio Ranieri.

Inter's defeat was their sixth in seven games. The 2010 champions improved in the second half, but struggled to carve out clear chances against a well-organised Marseille team that lacked invention and a cutting edge up front.

Ranieri's team looked to have done enough to secure a draw, but Ayew timed his run perfectly in the third minute of added time to head the ball past goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

"Nothing's done yet," said Marseille coach Didier Deschamps. "I'm happy and proud because the players believed in themselves until the end.

"They were up against a team that has seen it all before, with players who are used to playing in quarter-finals, in semi-finals, and yet they still won."

Reluctant to discuss the match at length afterwards, Ranieri blamed bad luck.

"We had more opportunities and they scored on their first chance," Ranieri said. "We did not deserve to lose."

Ranieri replied with a blunt "no" when asked if he was feeling the strain.

"The San Siro will be full and it will be an advantage for us, we can score two goals no problem," Ranieri said. Inter, however, have not kept a clean sheet for nine straight games.

"We have a small advantage. It will be tough over there," Deschamps said.

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