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Marseille march on as PSG slip up again

AFP · 29 Sep 2014, 09:17

Published: 29 Sep 2014 09:17 GMT+02:00

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Marseille made it six wins on the bounce on Sunday, beating Saint-Etienne 2-1 at the Stade Velodrome to end the weekend two points clear at the top of Ligue 1.

Marcelo Bielsa's side produced a typically high octane performance in the first half and found themselves two goals ahead inside 28 minutes, Giannelli Imbula and Dimitri Payet both on target.

The tempo dropped in the second half and Jonathan Brison got one back for Saint-Etienne, but OM held on to make it three wins in the last eight days and six in a row, their longest winning streak since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

This latest success saw them reclaim first place from Bordeaux, who had beaten Rennes 2-1 earlier on Sunday, while stuttering champions Paris Saint-Germain are five points off the pace in fourth.

Bielsa named an unchanged side following last Tuesday's 5-0 victory at Reims while the visitors made several changes, having drawn at home with Bordeaux on Thursday.

The hosts looked the fresher of the two teams and got off to the perfect start, Imbula collecting a Brice Dja Djedje pass, controlling and then lashing a shot into the bottom-left corner from just outside the area.

Payet, the former Saint-Etienne winger, then came close on two separate occasions before finding the net shortly before the half-hour mark, stroking the ball home from just inside the box after Andre Ayew had stolen possession back from Francois Clerc.

Marseille could not maintain the same level of intensity and Brison reduced the arrears on 53 minutes with a sweetly struck half-volley after the home defence had failed to clear their lines.

Nevertheless, the hosts held on and Andre-Pierre Gignac, scorer of eight goals already this season, was only denied another by a good Stephane Ruffier save late on.

Saint-Etienne, meanwhile, have still not won at the Velodrome since 1979, when Michel Platini and Johnny Rep were in their side.

"We must be honest. The coach has brought so much. He is meticulous - everyone knows what they need to be doing," Marseille goalkeeper and captain Steve Mandanda told Canal Plus.

"But you can see that when we take our foot off the gas a little, like at the start of the second half, there is nothing between us and the other sides.

We need to learn from games like this and remain fully concentrated."

Bordeaux win it late

Bordeaux were inspired by youngster Thomas Toure as they got the better of Rennes at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Toure set up Wahbi Khazri to put Les Girondins ahead in the second half and then curled in a magnificent winning goal in the third minute of added time after Habib Habibou had levelled for Rennes in the 80th minute.

"The players never gave up. They were cooked at the end, but they kept looking for the winner into the final minutes," said delighted Bordeaux coach Willy Sagnol.

"They can be proud but they also know that there is work to be done in terms of the performance."

Story continues below…

Elsewhere, Lyon made it four games unbeaten but threw away the lead in a 1-1 draw away to Nantes at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

Burkina Faso defender Bakary Kone headed in Alexandre Lacazette's free-kick to put OL ahead six minutes into the second half, but he then shoved Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to the ground inside the box, allowing Jordan Veretout to level from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute.

Sunday's other game saw Lens draw 0-0 with fellow promoted club Caen at their temporary home in Amiens.

On Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain were held to a 1-1 draw at Toulouse, their fourth draw in their last five matches meaning that they will not go into Tuesday's Champions League showdown with Barcelona in the best shape.

France's other Champions League group stage representative, Monaco, suffered a fourth loss in just eight league games this season, falling 1-0 at home to Nice in the Cote d'Azur derby, while there were wins for Lille, Metz, Montpellier and Evian.

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