Ligue 1: Marseille held by struggling Toulouse
TOULOUSE, February 24 (Ligue 1) - Toulouse collected what could prove a valuable point in their fight against relegation as they held high-flying Marseille to a scoreless draw.
Both sides had their chances to break the deadlock in a game in which Toulouse keeper Nicolas Douchez and his opposite number Steve Mandanda were in impressive form.
In 18th place and four points off safety, Toulouse are desperate for points but it was always going to be difficult against Marseille who are in a rich vein of form which has seen them win four of their last five league games.
And the visitors could have gone in front on 14 minutes as a well-worked Samir Nasri free-kick saw the France international have a good shot at goal but Douchez reacted well to block the ball.
Nasri was also involved in his side's next opportunity six minutes later as his corner found Taye Taiwo but his close-range header just looped over the crossbar.
Marseille went even closer in the 35th minute as Kanga Akale latched on to Benoit Cheyrou's quick throw-in but saw his effort flash past the post.
Toulouse should have taken a lead into the break as Achille Emana raced down the wing before releasing Johan Elmander on the edge of the penalty area but Mandanda moved swiftly to deny the Sweden striker.
The hosts upped the pressure after the break and Elmander came close to breaking the deadlock with a terrific header that looked destined for the back of the net but Mandanda did well to pull off a mid-air block.
And the Marseille keeper was again on hand to keep out Albin Ebondo's powerful 25-yard drive in the 65th minute.
As the game drew to a close Marseille sought desperately to find the winner but Douchez reacted well to keep out Djibril Cisse's header and then pulled off an even better stop to thwart the France striker again moments later.
Cisse's strike looked certain to have taken all three points for Marseille after it took a wicked deflection off Herita Ilunga but Douchez somehow managed to keep it out.