Loan watch: Tavares nets sixth of the season

Nuno Tavares celebrates scoring for Marseille against Toulouse

Nuno Tavares’ sixth goal of the season proved to be crucial as Marseille edged out Toulouse in a five-goal thriller to keep them in the hunt for the Ligue 1 title.

After l’OM had fallen behind just two minutes in, they got themselves in front thanks to second-half goals from Chancel Mbemba and Cengiz Under before Nuno picked up the ball from Matteo Guendouzi, pushed past a defender and drilled the ball home.

That was his third goal in his last six outings, and despite Toulouse pulling one back three minutes from time, the visitors held on to hang onto PSG’s coattails at the top.

Elsewhere in France, two Gunners went head-to-head but neither Folarin Balogun nor Nicolas Pepe could add to their combined 23-goal haul this term as Reims drew 0-0 at Nice, extending both clubs’ lengthy unbeaten runs in the process.

In other European action, Pablo Mari’s Monza lost 1-0 to AC Milan, and two of our goalkeepers found themselves on the wrong end of 2-1 scorelines with Alex Runarsson’s Alanyaspor losing to Istanbulspor, while Ovie Ejeheri was unable to stop SKJ Seinajoki being beaten by AC Oulu. 

However, there was better news for Arthur Okonkwo, who won his second-straight game for Sturm Graz as they beat Hartberg 2-1 to keep them six points behind Red Bull Salzburg at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga.

In England, Ainsley Maitland-Niles helped Southampton record a 1-0 win at Chelsea on Saturday, as they responded to Nathan Jones’ dismissal in style. Ainsley played at right-back for all-but the final moments as the Saints claimed a huge win.

Sambi Lokonga was handed his first Crystal Palace start against Brentford and was withdrawn by Patrick Vieira in the 63rd minute with the game scoreless, which ultimately ended 1-1. 

Dropping into the Football League, Brook Norton-Cuffy helped Coventry City record back-to-back wins and put themselves in contention for a Championship play-off place as he remained on the field for the entirety of their 2-0 win at Rotherham United - the club he spent the first half of the campaign at. 

Auston Trusty played his 36th game of the season for Birmingham City but couldn’t prevent them from allowing a one-goal lead to slip as they lost 2-1 at Huddersfield Town, leaving them 18th in the table, seven points above the drop zone.

Charlie Patino missed Blackpool’s win against Stoke City through suspension, after picking up a red card in their previous game against Swansea City. The win lifts the Seasiders off the foot of the table, with Omar Rekik and Miguel Azeez’s Wigan Athletic replacing them, who both sat out their goalless draw against Norwich City.

In League Two, Mazeed Ogungbo played 89 minutes of Crawley Town’s 1-0 loss at runaway leaders Leyton Orient, a result that leaves the Red Devils in the relegation zone. They are just below Hartlepool United, who Taylor Foran helped recover from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at AFC Wimbledon.

Further down the pyramid, Tim Akinola was replaced after 64 minutes of Chesterfield’s 0-0 draw with Solihull Moors in the National League, while in the Southern League Premier Division Central Brian Okonkwo played for Hitchin Town in a 1-1 draw against Nuneaton Borough, after joining on a short-term emergency loan deal.

Up in Scotland, Ryan Alebiousu made his 25th appearance for Kilmarnock by playing the final 13 minutes of their 2-0 defeat to Hibernian, while Alex Kirk started Ayr United’s game against Partick Thistle but a second defeat in a row leaves them five points behind Scottish Championship leaders Queen's Park. 

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