Vitinha will probably have some nightmares about it. The Portuguese striker from Olympique de Marseille will dwell for a long time on this enormous missed opportunity in the last minute of the match against Monaco, Saturday January 27, for the 19th day of Ligue 1. Alone two meters from the empty goal, the Marseille number 9 poorly took a cross from the right, allowing the Monegasque goalkeeper, Philipp Köhn, to return to catch the ball in front of his line and preserve the draw (2-2).

“The opportunity Vitinha missed at the last minute is part of football. We can’t say anything, it’s like when you miss a penalty, it happens,” explained Marseille coach Gennaro Gattuso, trying to protect his Portuguese striker.

This failure and the litany of blunders which accompanied his performance of the evening will not, however, help Vitinha’s popularity rating in the aisles of the Stade Vélodrome which saw OM concede a third draw in a row in the championship.

Marked by the deployment of rebellious banners against the owner and management, the pre-match showed that the Marseille public had not yet given up on their team. But the game ended under the whistles and the balance remains precarious for Gennaro Gattuso and his troops.

Despite thirteen absentees, a team of odds and ends and a bench that screams misery − the fault of injuries and the departures of players at the CAN −, Marseille nevertheless had enough to snatch the decision, in a match played very largely in numerical superiority .

Jonathan Clauss goes out injured

After Monaco opened the score quickly, with a clear Golovine-Ben Yedder move (1-0, 7th), the Vélodrome pushed its team, and saw Monegasque Guillermo Maripan get sent off in the 11th minute. The Chilean defender received a harsh red card for a foul for which he paid both his spectacular slowness and Vitinha’s unusual vice.

Without being breathtaking, OM were then dangerous and were rewarded by the equalizer signed Aubameyang, initially signaled offside after a slightly missed recovery from Vitinha – already – and a good overflow from Luis Henrique (1-1, 38th).

Just before, the injury to Jonathan Clauss was a reminder that Marseille is really dark at the moment, and just after, the second Monegasque goal confirmed that the Marseillais also knew how to get into difficulty on their own. As the added time of the first period dragged on quietly, Aubameyang played an offensive action casually, offering a counter to Monaco, carried out by the duo Ben Yedder-Maghnes Akliouche, with the complicity of Leonardo Balerdi, lost in space, and goalkeeper Pau Lopez, passive (2-1, 45 3).

But the Argentine defender made up for it with a nice dry strike at ground level, which quickly brought Marseille back up to par after the break (2-2, 50th).

Relief and frustration for Monaco

Then, Marseille pushed, wasting a few good rounds, because of the lack of spontaneity of Joaquin Correa or the terrible clumsiness of poor Vitinha (69th and especially the famous 94th minute) whose name was chanted by… the Monegasque supporters.

“Before the match, everyone was sure we were going to lose. But we did what we had to. Of course, we had the advantage of playing eleven against ten, we also missed things. But I saw a team alive, which could win. I can’t blame them for anything,” said Gennaro Gattuso, a follower of the Coué method.

ASM, which has not been particularly dashing lately, defended and tried to attack on the counter, even after a second red card, that of Denis Zakaria sent off in the 87th minute. Ultimately, this drawn result sounds like a relief for Monaco after a very turbulent week in the Principality, marked by the announcement by the Russian owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev, of a possible sale and the death at the age of 74 of a figure of the club, Jean Petit.

“We of course deserved this draw,” judged Monaco coach Adi Hütter. “Everyone saw that we were better at the start. We deserved the opener. After the red, we remained aggressive, with high pressure. We also deserved the second goal. At 2-2, we still had a great opportunity. With certain decisions, it was hard to win here tonight,” he also said, frustrated, referring to the red cards distributed to his team.

Nice consolidates its second place

For its part, already eliminated in the Coupe de France by Rennes, Marseille, sixth, 5 points behind fourth-placed Monaco, still remains behind in the race for the Champions League while Nice consolidated its second place, behind the Parisian leader, by beating Metz (1-0) in the afternoon.

In the minimalist style that has made it successful this season, the Gym settled for a small goal on a very contentious penalty converted by Evann Guessand. Enough to make the situation perilous for Messins (15th), who suffered their sixth consecutive setback in L1. The Niçois are now five points behind PSG, who host Brest, surprising third, on Sunday at the Parc des Princes.