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LIGUE 1 ROUND-UP

MARSEILLE

Marseille march on as PSG slip up again

Marcelo Bielsa's Marseille team continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-1 against Saint-Etienne on Sunday. However the same cannot be said for PSG, who slipped up again at the weekend against Toulouse.

Marseille march on as PSG slip up again
Marseille's Argentine head coach Marcelo Bielsa (L) celebrates with Marseille's Brazilian defender Doria after the defeat of St Etienne. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

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."

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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WEATHER

IN PICTURES: How floods and a bin strike left Marseille submerged in waste

Torrential rain hit the city of Marseille in the south of France on Sunday and Monday, just days after local waste collectors ended a week-long strike, leading to fears of "catastrophic" waste making its way to the ocean.

IN PICTURES: How floods and a bin strike left Marseille submerged in waste
A man stands on a beach covered with cans following heavy rains and a strike of waste collectors in Marseille on October 5th. Photo: Nicolas TUCAT / AFP.

Marseille is located in the Bouches-du-Rhône département, which Météo France placed on red alert for heavy rain and flooding on Monday. Schools in the area shut and people were warned not to leave their homes as two months’ worth of rain fell in a single day in the Mediterranean city, after heavy rains had already caused flooding on Sunday night.

The situation was compounded by the fact that uncollected garbage was blocking storm drains in certain parts of the city – drains which would normally be cleared ahead of heavy rain – and making it more difficult for emergency services to intervene.

The city’s waste collectors had begun clearing the streets on Saturday after an agreement between unions and local authorities put an end to an eight-day strike over an increase to working hours.

But rain over the weekend made the monumental job even more difficult, and the result was that “rivers of rubbish” flowed through the city’s streets on Monday.

“Rubbish is everywhere. It’s a catastrophe,” biologist Isabelle Poitou, director of the MerTerre association, told AFP. “We’re expecting a strong mistral wind which will push the rubbish, which is currently making its way towards the sea, onto the beaches.”

“It’s vital to come and clear the rubbish from the beaches on Tuesday or Wednesday,” she added. “We need to act before the rubbish gets scattered in the sea at the first gust of wind.”

A woman collects waste on a beach after heavy rains and following a strike of waste collectors in Marseille.

A woman collects waste on a beach after heavy rains and following a strike of waste collectors in Marseille. Photo: Christophe SIMON / AFP.

The video below tweeted by BFMTV journalist Cédric Faiche shows the state of a beach in Marseille early on Tuesday morning. “It’s been cleaned several times but cans and different types of plastic continue to arrive…” Faiche wrote.

However, Faiche told BFM there are similar scenes every time there is heavy rain in Marseille, even if the strike has made the situation even worse.

Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin shared a video of the “sad scene” captured in Marseille on Sunday night. “Discussions between trade unions and the city must not make us forget what really matters: we are all responsible for our seas and our oceans!” she said.

“It’s unacceptable,” Christine Juste, deputy mayor in charge of the environment in Marseille told BFM on Tuesday, criticising the “lack of reactivity” in collecting leftover rubbish following the end of the strike on Friday.

“Why wait so long? In the 6th arrondissement, there has been no collection since the announcement that the strike was over,” she said.

IN PICTURES: See how the deluge has left parts of France’s Mediterranean coast submerged

The Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis intercommunal structure, rather than city hall, is in charge of rubbish collection in Marseille.

On Monday morning, the Metropolis dispatched 650 workers to clear away as much waste as possible ahead of the heaviest rainfall which was forecast for the afternoon.

On Monday evening, Marseille’s Mayor Benoît Payan told franceinfo that 3,000 tonnes of garbage were still yet to be collected in the city. “I asked the Prime Minister this evening to class the zone as a natural disaster,” he added.

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