• France's news in English

Marseille win to restore lead over PSG

AFP · 3 Nov 2014, 09:01

Published: 03 Nov 2014 09:01 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Marseille restored their four-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 on Sunday, beating Lens 2-1 at the Stade Velodrome despite a less than convincing display against their struggling visitors.

Nicolas Nkoulou headed Marcelo Bielsa's side into an early lead, but Lens drew level courtesy of Baptiste Guillaume and had chances to go in front themselves.

However, Florian Thauvin secured the points with his third league goal of the season on the hour-mark as Marseille got back to winning ways after suffering consecutive defeats in league and cup, holding on despite the late sending-off of Alaixys Romao.

With 28 points, OM are four clear of second-placed Paris Saint-Germain before they face their great rivals at the Parc des Princes in the biggest fixture in French football next Sunday.

A positive result in the capital against the defending champions would set them up for a sustained title challenge, but Bielsa will accept that his side need to play far better than they did against Lens if they are to take anything from PSG.

Nevertheless, the win meant it was a good finish to a difficult week for the south-coast club, who fell short of a club record ninth consecutive league win by losing at Lyon last weekend and were then eliminated from the League Cup at Rennes before a reported bust-up between Andre-Pierre Gignac and Brice Dja Djedje at the club's training ground hinted at divisions in the squad.

"Am I worried before the 'Clasico'? The match against Lyon was the best we have played this season, and tonight was not good," said Bielsa.

"I know what mistakes we made but I also know perfectly well the qualities of my team and what we are capable of doing."

Bielsa, who handed rare starts to Rod Fanni and Mario Lemina, saw his side strike early, as they have done on numerous occasions already this season.

The game was only 10 minutes old when a corner from the right was inadvertently helped on at the near post by Lens captain Jerome Le Moigne for Nkoulou to dive and head in.

Marseille had won every Ligue 1 game this season in which they had opened the scoring and few at that point anticipated a Lens comeback.

However, Antoine Kombouare's side, featuring six players aged 22 or under, including four teenagers, were not cowed and Benjamin Bourigeaud missed a chance to equalise before Guillaume did restore parity with a strike from inside the area after good work by Pablo Chavarria.

Indeed, Lens could have gone in front early in the second period, with Wylan Cyprien blazing over and Chavarria having an effort disallowed for offside.

But Marseille regained the initiative when a superb Dimitri Payet pass found Gignac, and Ligue 1's leading scorer turned provider as he cut the ball back for Thauvin to side-foot a shot into the roof of the net.

The dismissal of Romao left OM to play out the final 14 minutes of the game with 10 men and meant that Bielsa will have to do without him as well as Andre Ayew and Jeremy Morel against PSG.

But at least they held on to win the match, with goalkeeper Steve Mandanda making a crucial save to deny Yoann Touzghar in the fifth minute of added time.

Despite the defeat, Lens coach Kombouare said: "I never had any doubts about the quality of my players, about what they were capable of doing.

"We are disappointed, frustrated, but we have to congratulate Marseille for holding on."

Champions PSG came from behind to win 2-1 at Lorient on Saturday to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign while Lyon went clear in third with a 3-1 victory at Nice.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Bordeaux moved back up to fourth by beating local rivals Toulouse 2-1 for their first win in four league outings, Marc Planus and Diego Rolan scoring for Willy Sagnol's side.

Meanwhile, Nantes made it seven league games unbeaten as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Rennes in the Breton derby.


Nantes 1 v Rennes 1 

Bordeaux 2 v Toulouse 1

Story continues below…

Marseille 2 v Lens 1

Monaco 1 v  Reims 1

Lorient 1 v Paris Saint-Germain 2 

Metz 3 v Caen 2

Montpellier 2 v Evian 0 

Nice 1 v Lyon 3 

Lille 1 v Saint-Etienne 1 

Guingamp 1 v Bastia 0

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available