MARSEILLE, FRANCE (AP) – Porto won 2-0 at Marseille to close in on the knockout stage of the Champions League on Wednesday and condemn the French side to a record 13th straight defeat in the competition.
Left back Zaidu Sanusi scored the opening goal in the 39th minute and midfielder Sergio Oliveira added a penalty with 20 minutes left as both sides finished with 10 players at Stade Velodrome. Another shoddy performance moves Marseille one beyond Belgian side Anderlecht, the previous co-holder of the record for straight defeats with 12. Marseille is also the only club in the current competition yet to score and has conceded nine goal in four games — a poor return for the only French side to win the competition, back in 1993.
“This is a competition to forget for us,” Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas said. “When you are on such a negative run, things like this happen.”
Two-time champion Porto’s win left it with nine points and second in Group C behind Manchester City on 12 points. City reached the last 16 for an eighth straight season after winning 1-0 at Olympiakos.
“It is important to perform well in the Champions League for the club’s dimension and history,” Porto coach Sergio Conceicao said. “We still need one point and we have to fight for it.”
Third-place Olympiakos is six points behind Porto but has a thin chance of qualifying since it still has to face Porto.
Marseille only has the Europa League to aim for.
“We can’t finish the group like this, and I hope we’ll qualify for the Europa League,” said Villas-Boas, whose side faces Olympiakos at home next Tuesday. “We’ll battle hard and work hard to get a win.”
A minute’s silence was held before the game in memory of Argentina great Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday. Marseille’s then-president Bernard Tapie tried to sign Maradona from Italian club Naples in the summer of 1989.
Valere Germain almost put Marseille ahead with a downward header from a free kick in the 15th, but goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin made a fine save from close range.
Porto did not threaten until the 37th, when Sanusi’s shot from outside the penalty area was batted away by veteran goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
From the ensuing corner, Marseille defended very poorly, allowing Sanusi space to have two shots from near the line, beating the veteran France No 2 Mandanda with the second.
“It was important to score my first goal for Porto and in the Champions League,” said Sanusi, who plays for Nigeria. “It’s a very happy day for me, the greatest since I arrived at Porto.”