Football News

Mandanda was Lille's saviour, says Garcia

Created on Apr. 15, 2013 12:15 PM EST

Lille head coach Rudi Garcia has praised Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for his role in Sunday's 0-0 draw between the two teams.

Mandanda made seven saves as Marseille held out for a scoreless draw away at Grand Stade Lille Metropole, denying the hosts who completely dominated the match.

Lille had 63 percent possession and took 16 shots to Marseille's seven but were unable to get past Mandanda, prompting Garcia's praise of the 28-year-old goalkeeper, who claimed his fifth-consecutive clean sheet in Ligue 1.

"The result doesn't make sense," Garcia said.

"I am disappointed for the players.

"What can I say? We just came up against a fantastic goalkeeper, a French international goalkeeper.

"He (Mandanda) allowed Marseille to come away with a point."

Marseille head coach Elie Baup added Mandanda proved 'he is the best goalkeeper in Ligue 1' with his performance against Lille.

While Marseille have only scored two goals in their past five matches, they have not lost one of those games and Baup was pleased with his players' stubbornness as they strive to hold onto second position in Ligue 1.

"We got a point and kept a clean sheet, and we continue to work to try and stay on the podium," Baup said.

"We had difficult moments tonight but we rode the storm.

"Mandanda was extraordinary and proved that he is the best goalkeeper in Ligue 1.

"He is our captain and an important player for our club.

"Unfortunately we didn't have enough quality when it came to bringing the ball forward."

While Garcia was left frustrated by his team's inability to break down Marseille's defence, he was relieved to see Lille hold on for a point rather than succumb to a sucker punch.

The draw cost Lille fifth position as Nice moved above Garcia's side with a 3-0 triumph over Sochaux but Garcia remains confident they can at least reach fourth position and still qualify for European football next season.

"When you can't win a match, like tonight because of Mandanda, it is good to make sure you don't lose," Garcia said.

"There is still everything to play for.

"There are six matches left and 18 points to play for, which is enough to get into Europe."

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