Ayew hits injury time winner against Inter

Marseille 1 Internazionale 0

Andre Ayew rose to head home a corner deep into injury time tonight as Marseille beat Internazionale 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match.

Inter, the 2010 champion, grew in confidence as the second half wore on, but struggled to carve out clear chances against a well-organized Marseille team that lacked invention and a cutting edge up front.

Claudio 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's outstretched hand to condemn Ranieri's side to its sixth defeat in the past seven games.

Diego Forlan had Inter's best opportunity early in the match when he forced goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to tip the ball over the crossbar from close range.

The return leg is at Inter on March 13.

Marseille was without top scorer Loic Remy with a thigh injury, but midfielder Alou Diarra started after shaking off a toe problem. Brazilian Brandao took up a lone striker's role with Mathieu Valbuena behind him as playmaker.

Both sides started with a near-identical shape in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Under-fire Inter coach Ranieri gave Forlan his European debut for the club — the Uruguay striker was ineligible for the group stage — and he was supported by Wesley Sneijder in a revamped attack. Forwards Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini were on the bench.

Marseille attacked aggressively from the outset, keen to test a defense that had leaked 15 goals in the last six games, five of which were defeats, and midfielder Benoit Cheyrou saw his speculative shot deflected for a corner.

Inter tried to sit back and soak up pressure, happy to hit the French side on the break, but veteran midfielder Dejan Stankovic betrayed his side's early nerves when he hit a routine short pass into touch, rather than to teammate Mauro Zarate standing five yards away from him.

Despite Marseille's bright start, Inter had the first shot on target in the 11th minute when Forlan forced goalkeeper Steve Mandanda into an excellent reflex save after running onto Esteban Cambiasso's pinpoint cross from the left.

Marseille remained in control, however, and midway through the first half Valbuena caught Lucio napping as he tried to casually dribble out of defense. Valbuena stole the ball off Lucio's toe, but then just failed to get it over to Brandao.

Valbuena often dropped deep or shuffled wide to support wingers Andre Ayew and Morgan Amalfitano, making it increasingly hard for Inter's defense to predict his runs.

Marseille should have scored in the 30th. Center half Nicolas N'Koulou ran onto Valbuena's curling freekick and clipped the ball straight onto the leg of teammate Souleymane Diawara, rather than toward goal.

Inter almost punished Marseille for that wasted chance just moments later, when Cambiasso pulled the ball back to the unmarked Zarate, but his shot lacked power and was comfortably smothered by Mandanda.

Marseille right back Cesar Azpilicueta tested keeper Julio Cesar with a dipping shot from 15 yards early in the second half, but Inter pushed up more and Marseille found itself trying to launch attacks from deep.

Ranieri seemed increasingly content to settle for a draw, replacing Zarate with Joel Obi midway through the second half, even though Zarate was Inter's most lively player along with Cambiasso.

With both sides hitting stray passes, the play became more scrappy with players from both teams overlooking simple passes as they tried to make the difference themselves.

Forlan embarked on a swerving run that saw him skip past four Marseille players, turn back on himself and lose the ball, while Marseille midfielder Benoit Cheyrou's ambitious chipped pass into the box was easily headed away, with Ayew screaming for a pass right next to him.

Stankovic then scuffed a weak shot straight at Mandanda from close range in the 74th after Sneijder curled a dangerous free kick into the box.

And it got worse for Inter in injury time when Ayew, who had gone close with two headers shortly before, won the match for Marseille and gave his team a slim advantage heading into the second leg.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
News
people
Travel
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments