Mon, Mar 23, 2009 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Marseille back on top for the first time in a decade

DUTCH MASTER Bolo Zenden created both goals in Marseille’s victory against Nantes, while Bordeaux maintained their title hopes with a victory at Le Havre


Renato Civelli and Brandao fired Marseille to a 2-0 victory over Nantes on Saturday to shoot Eric Gerets’ men to the top of the French championship for the first time in 10 years.

Argentinian defender Civelli netted 10 minutes after the break, and Brazilian Brandao four minutes later, knocking seven-times reigning champions Lyon off their perch.

The 3-0 victory by Laurent Blanc’s Bordeaux at Le Havre, which had put them top earlier on Saturday, meant Lyon dropped to third spot.

Marseille coach Eric Gerets said he wasn’t afraid to think about the title.

“I am somebody who dares to say it. It makes me laugh when I hear our rivals say that they are not thinking about the championship,” Gerets said.

Marseille now sit proudly at the top of the French table for the first time since the 1989-1999 season.

Blanc, who had been in France’s World Cup-winning squad earlier that season, was an integral part of the Marseille side which reached the UEFA Cup final and lost by a point to Bordeaux in the French championship under coach Rolland Courbis.

Back to the present, it was Dutchman Bolo Zenden who created both goals for Marseille against Nantes. His freekick found the head of Civelli for the first goal and then another cross shortly afterwards meant Brandao converted another header for the second.

Marseille have 55 points, two more than both Bordeaux and Lyon, and three more than Lille and Paris Saint Germain, who visited Toulouse yesterday. Also yesterday, Lyon had the chance to regain top spot in their home match against Sochaux.

Goals from star player Yoann Gourcuff, Souleymane Diawara and Brazilian Wendel earned Bordeaux’s win over Le Havre.

Blanc had said before the Marseille result was known: “Our sitting on top of the league is no fluke. The notion of winning the title is not taboo to me.”

“On the other hand, I would say that perhaps realistically we do not have the capability of winning it but perhaps I will have a different opinion with four or five matches to go to the end of the championship,” he said.

Meanwhile, mid-table Monaco had a useful away win, with South Korean forward Park Chu-young on target in a 1-0 victory at Nancy.

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