Sun, Dec 24, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Cisse's injury goal-drought ends

AP , PARIS

PHOTO: REUTERS

Coming back from a broken leg, Djibril Cisse scored his first goal since May to help Marseille beat visiting Saint-Etienne 2-1 on Friday in the French league.

Marek Heinz leveled for Saint-Etienne, but Mickael Pagis scored Marseille's winner midway through the second half.

Saint-Etienne stays in third place with 31 points from 19 rounds, while Marseille jumps to fifth with 30 going into yesterday's games.

Leader Lyon has 49 points and Lens is second with 32.

Cisse struck in the 9th minute, poking home Ronald Zubar's corner. It was the first time Cisse had found the net since notching for Liverpool against West Ham United in the May 13 FA Cup final.

Cisse recently returned to action after a six-month absence. He broke his leg on June 7 playing for France in a friendly against China and missed the World Cup.

His goal prompted loud celebrations at Stade Velodrome and came on his third appearance for Marseille since joining on loan from Liverpool. Cisse made his comeback on Dec. 9, setting up the winner against Monaco.

A minute before his goal, Cisse created a chance for midfielder Lorik Cana, but Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Jeremie Janot made a great stop from close range.

Heinz leveled moments before the interval after two saves from Marseille goalkeeper Cedric Carasso. He kept out shots from Pascal Feindouno and Frederic Piquionne, but was finally beaten when Geoffrey Dernis crossed the ball back and Heinz finished neatly.

Carasso was almost caught out at the start of the second half, when he strayed off his line and Christophe Landrin tried his luck from 41m, lobbing the ball just wide.

Janot then made a superb stop to keep out Pagis' powerful volley in the 63rd, but Pagis beat him a minute later by thumping home a cross from the left by Nigeria defender Taye Taiwo.

Piquionne missed a great chance to level in the 79th but headed wide. It could be Piquionne's last game for Les Verts as Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has made an official approach and the player has expressed interest in joining the French leader.

After this weekend the French league heads into a winter break and resumes on Jan. 13.

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