Mon, Nov 01, 2010 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Brest capitalize on Marseille washout to go top of Ligue 1

AFP, PARIS

Jimmy Briand of Olympique Lyonnais, bottom, battles for the ball with Boukary Drame of Sochaux during their Ligue 1 match at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France, on Saturday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Promoted Stade Brestois 29 capitalized on a washout at Marseille to go top of the Ligue 1 with a 2-0 win at home to Saint-Etienne on Saturday.

Marseille’s late match against previous leaders Stade Rennais was called off at the last minute because of torrential rain at the Stade Velodrome, giving Brest and their opponents the chance to take over at the summit.

Saint-Etienne came closest to taking the lead in the first half, but fullback Albin Ebondo’s rising drive crashed back off the outside of the post.

Brest seized their opportunity with 13 minutes of the second period remaining, when Bruno Grougi’s accurate cross was headed home by Mario Licka.

Romain Poyet made it 2-0 with a sublime chip from the edge of the box moments later, as the team promoted from Ligue 2 last season went two points clear at the top and extended their run without conceding a goal to eight league matches.

Saint-Etienne slipped a place to fourth, behind Marseille on goal difference, with Toulouse holding onto fifth after a 1-1 draw at home to Lens.

“This is an great surprise,” Brest coach Alex Dupont said. “The players amaze me with every match by their quality. We saw a wonderful match this evening, with a second half where we gave nothing away. Our place in the standings at this time of the season can no longer be considered luck. We’re on the right track and deserved this victory.”

Marseille announced later on Saturday that the game with Rennes would be rescheduled to yesterday, pending a pitch inspection.

“The important thing is to consult everyone involved and the security of the players,” match referee Freddy Fautrel said.

Marseille have a Champions League game away at MSK Zilina in Slovakia on Wednesday, but the French champions’ sporting director Jose Anigo said they were happy to play Rennes yesterday.

“We really hope to play tomorrow,” Anigo said. “It would be very complicated to scrap this match again and find ourselves in the problematic position we had last season [when Marseille suffered a fixture pile-up toward the end of the campaign].”

Olympique Lyonnais put a turbulent week behind them to win 2-1 at home against Sochaux to climb to eighth in the standings.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas ended weeks of speculation in midweek by confirming that coach Claude Puel would stay on until the end of the season, despite a 1-1 draw at bottom club Arles-Avignon last weekend and defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the League Cup.

The hosts took a 31st-minute lead when Michel Bastos gathered Yoann Gourcuff’s pass, before firing inside the near post, moments after Hugo Lloris had produced a stunning save to deny Ryad Boudebouz at the other end.

Sochaux drew level in the 66th minute through Nigerian striker Ideye Brown, but substitute Alexandre Lacazette — on for the injured Bastos — rattled home the winner just three minutes later.

In the day’s other games, Auxerre climbed to ninth with a 2-0 victory at home to Nice, while Nancy won 3-2 at Stade Malherbe Caen and basement dwellers Arles--Avignon fell 2-0 at Lorient.

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