Marseille win to keep slender lead over PSG

Marseille maintained their one point lead over rivals PSG at the top of Ligue 1 after the weekend's action in Ligue 1, which saw both teams scrape wins at home.

Marseille win to keep slender lead over PSG
Marseille players celebrate scoring against Metz on Sunday. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

Marseille reclaimed top spot in Ligue 1 from Paris Saint-Germain with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over Metz at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday evening.

Andre Ayew, making his first appearance in more than a month after injury, and Dimitri Payet scored to secure the win after Andre-Pierre Gignac's first-half opener had been cancelled out by Florent Malouda.

An eighth consecutive home win for Marcelo Bielsa's side means they end the weekend one point clear of defending champions PSG, who beat Nantes 2-1 on Saturday.

Marseille have not lost at home to Metz since 2004, when Franck Ribery was in the away side, but they endured an uncomfortable first half, creating little and requiring Steve Mandanda to make two fine saves from Malouda.

A Payet shot that flashed over on 34 minutes was the hosts' first chance, and their first attempt on target, two minutes prior to the interval, brought the opening goal.

Payet whipped in a cross from the left for the unmarked Gignac to head home his 12th of the season, and 50th Ligue 1 goal for Marseille, from close range.

Metz were back level just 18 seconds into the second half as Juan Falcon teed up Malouda, whose shot from the edge of the area beat Mandanda thanks to
a deflection off Nicolas Nkoulou.

However, Marseille were not to be denied, as Ayew marked his first appearance since picking up an injury on international duty last month by following up to score after Alaixys Romao's shot had hit the post on 59 minutes.

Gignac and Ayew both had chances to score again but it was the in-form Payet who wrapped up the points in injury time with a cool finish after being set up by Rod Fanni.

"It was tough, honestly. But that shows we have character," Payet told Canal Plus. "We need to improve. Things smiled for us tonight but we could
have a tricky time against other teams if we play like that."

Lacazette rescues Lyon 

Earlier, a stoppage-time penalty from Ligue 1's leading scorer Alexandre Lacazette allowed Lyon to win 3-2 at Evian and move back into third place.

Lyon twice trailed in Annecy to goals from the veteran Cedric Barbosa, but Lacazette equalised with nine minutes left before hammering home from the spot four minutes into injury time.

A second hard-earned win in the space of 72 hours ensured that Hubert Fournier's side are now back on track after their humbling 3-0 loss at bitter rivals Saint-Etienne last weekend and allowed them to climb back above Les Verts and Bordeaux, who triumphed on Saturday.

Evian were dealt a blow before kick-off when talented Danish winger Daniel Wass was forced to withdraw from the side due to illness.

Wass had scored stunning free-kicks in each of his side's last two matches, but Barbosa came into the starting XI and produced a memorable dead-ball strike of his own.

Now 38, Barbosa gave the hosts the lead just before the half-hour mark with a curling free-kick from 30 yards into the top left-hand corner of the net.

And after Yassine Benzia, in his first start in a year, tapped in when Lacazette's free-kick was blocked by goalkeeper Jesper Hansen, Barbosa restored Evian's lead seconds later by finishing at the end of a quick counter-attack.

However, France international Lacazette controlled a Nabil Fekir corner at the far post and volleyed in to restore parity, and then slammed home from the spot after a handball by substitute Adrien Thomasson to take his tally for the season to 13.

Northern rivals Lens and Lille drew 1-1 at the Stade de France while Guingamp won 3-2 at Reims.

On Saturday, PSG temporarily went top and maintained their record as the only unbeaten team left in Europe's leading leagues this season by coming from behind to beat Nantes 2-1 at the Parc des Princes with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring twice, including the winner from a ferocious free-kick.

There were also wins for Nice and Montpellier, while Dimitar Berbatov scored twice as Monaco won 2-0 at Toulouse on Friday.

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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.