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Marseille's European hopes take another blow in Strasbourg

STRASBOURG, France (AP) — Marseille's hopes of European qualification took another blow Friday in a 1-1 draw at Strasbourg in the French league. After losing 2-1 at home to Nantes last weekend, Marseille needed a win to keep the pressure on fourth-place Saint-Etienne, which holds the Europa League qualification place. But Marseille's seventh draw of the season means it remains four points behind Saint-Etienne ahead of the rest of the 35th round.

Saint-Etienne visits Monaco on Sunday. Three rounds remain after this weekend's games. Marseille had to wait until the second half to break the deadlock, with Valere Germain scoring in the 47th after some fine interplay between Mario Balotelli and Luiz Gustavo.

Balotelli played the ball to Gustavo with his heel, then ran on for the return pass and played it back for Hiroki Sakai, who laid it off for Germain to curl the ball inside the right post. Marseille defender Duje Caleta-Car later struck the post before Strasbourg drew level through Kenny Lala in the 65th. Adil Rami condeded a penalty for bringing down Ludovic Ajorque, but Steve Mandanda saved Jonas Martin's effort from the spot, then another on the rebound from Adrien Thomasson before Lala converted the third attempt.

"Too many disappointing results," Mandanda said of Marseille's dwindling hopes of European soccer next season.

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