- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

MONTPELLIER, France (AP) - Following a shock exit in the French Cup, league leader Marseille slumped to a second consecutive loss with a 2-1 defeat at Montpellier as the team’s struggles on the road continued Friday.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side has now failed to win its last seven away matches.

“We could at least have drawn the match, but the team never lived up to its potential,” the Argentine coach said.

Following its 5-4 defeat on penalties to fourth-tier Grenoble in the Cup, Marseille failed to bounce back against a tenacious Montpellier side that went up 2-0 with goals from Kevin Berigaud and Paul Lasne.

Billel Omrani pulled one back for the visitors in the 68th minute from Brice Dja Djedje’s cross but it wasn’t enough as Montpellier sat back to protect its lead.

Second-place Lyon has now the chance to overtake Marseille at the top of standings with a victory against Toulouse on Sunday.

Montpellier, which played its first game in its home ground since flooding damaged La Mosson stadium last September, celebrated the return with a second win over Marseille after claiming the corresponding away fixture.

Marseille struggled to get into match mode and Berigaud logically opened the scoring in the 36th minute with a low shot past keeper Steve Mandanda.

A turning point came in the 47th when Marseille forward Andre-Pierre Gignac missed the target from close range after stealing the ball and finding himself alone in front of goalkeeper Jonathan Ligali.

Lasne was then set up by Anthony Mounier in the box and made no mistake to score his first goal for Montpellier. Omrani’s goal gave the traveling fans something to cheer but Marseille could not level, with Mandanda sparing his teammates a bigger humiliation with a good save 10 minutes from time.

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