Tue, Sep 20, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Lyon down Deschamps’ hapless Marseille, go top

AFP, PARIS

Clement Grenier of Olympique Lyonnais, right, battles for the ball with Olympique de Marseille’s Mathieu Valbuena in their Ligue 1 match at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Eleven points separate Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille after OL defeated their title rivals 2-0 on Sunday to go top of Ligue 1 and consign Didier Deschamps’ hapless side to the bottom of the table.

Remi Garde’s rejuvenated team now lead the standings by a point from Montpellier Herault and Toulouse, but Marseille — second last season and champions the season before — are still without a win after six games.

With Marseille already 10 points outside the Champions League places, Deschamps faces the biggest challenge of his coaching career to turn his club’s season around.

“It happens in a top-level career that you have difficult moments,” Deschamps said. “You have to rely on the solidarity you have and your mental qualities. In three days [when they play Evian Thonon Gaillard], we have to set things straight.”

Michel Bastos was OM’s chief tormentor at the Stade de Gerland, giving Cesar Azpilicueta a torrid time with his powerful running and setting up Bafetimbi Gomis for the opening goal with a sweeping cross from the left flank.

The goal stood despite Gomis appearing to be offside and Bastos deepened the visitors’ gloom in the 29th minute when he outpaced Azpilicueta, before planting the ball in the bottom-right corner to put Lyon 2-0 up.

Having introduced Morgan Amalfitano and Andre Ayew, OM improved in the second half, but their best chance saw Hugo Lloris kick Loic Remy’s scuffed shot off his goal-line in the 52nd minute.

“There’s no magic formula,” said Garde when asked how he had turned Lyon’s fortunes around after their disappointing third-place finish last season. “There was a hunger for change, but we still had to get things started. Tonight we’re top of the league, but the journey is long and there’s still lots of work to do.”

Earlier, Paris Saint-Germain rallied from two goals down to record a 2-2 draw at promoted Evian.

Antoine Kombouare’s side were ultimately made to pay for a slow start that saw them go 2-0 down inside 20 minutes.

Former PSG midfielder Jerome Leroy broke the deadlock in the 14th minute, tucking away Yannick Sagbo’s pass, with Sagbo doubling the advantage from the penalty spot after his shot had been handled by Sylvain Armand.

Record signing Javier Pastore halved the deficit just before halftime with a delightful goal, squeezing past two defenders on the edge of the box and stroking a low shot into the bottom-left corner.

Kombouare introduced Mevlut Erding and Mathieu Bodmer in the second half and the substitutes combined for the equalizer with 10 minutes left, Bodmer stabbing home from close range after Erding had flicked on a corner.

“It was a good point to take, looking at the shape of the match,” PSG midfielder Clement Chantome said. “In the end we lost points, but we know that the championship is still long and that we’ll have to avoid dropping too many points on the road, as we did tonight.”

The draw brought PSG’s six-game winning run to an end and left them in fifth place in the table, three points shy of top spot.

Stade Rennais also failed to gain ground on the pacesetters after AS Nancy-Lorraine captain Andre Luiz’s 77th-minute penalty earned his side a 1-1 draw at the Stade de la Route de Lorient that left the hosts seventh.

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