Dimitri Payet was criticised by Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri.

Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri accused Dimitri Payet of ungentlemanly conduct after the Marseille midfielder’s refusal to throw the ball back to his side led to a stoppage-time equaliser.

With Marseille 1-0 down, Payet did not give the ball back to visitors Nantes after they had kicked it out with goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and centre-back Diego Carlos needing treatment for cramp.

Marseille then won a corner, from which Florian Thauvin fired home after a goalmouth scramble.

“There was a throw-in, Payet should have given the ball back. That’s football. So, vive le football,” Ranieri told reporters.

“Gentlemen give the ball back, the others, no. That’s the ones who are smart.”

But Payet defended his actions when he spoke to reporters after the match.

“I’m quite a fair player, but you shouldn’t push your luck,” he said.

“When I saw the goalkeeper and the defender go down without being touched, there comes a time when you have to stop.

“We continued playing, and you could say there was a form of justice.”

The point kept Marseille in touch with second-placed Monaco and five points clear of fourth-placed Lyon.

Only the top three qualify for the Champions League, with the top two going directly to the group stage.

Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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