A second-half goal by Alex gave Paris Saint-Germain a 2-1 home win against archrivals Olympique do Marseille on Sunday as Carlo Ancelotti’s side remained in the hunt for a first Ligue 1 title in 18 years.
Former Chelsea defender Alex headed home on 61 minutes, two minutes after Andre Ayew had canceled out Jeremy Menez’s early opener to put PSG on 63 points with seven games left.
They are second to Montpellier Herault on goal-difference, but the leaders have a game in hand, which they will play at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome tomorrow.
PSG’s display was passable at best, but it was enough to see off Marseille who, despite some good spells at the Parc des Princes, continued their poor run with a 10th defeat in their last 11 games in all competitions. They remain ninth on 40 points.
The home side, who last won the French league in 1994, finished the game with 10 men when holding midfielder Mohamed Sissoko was sent off for a second bookable offense with three minutes left.
“It’s always a special game. I think we had a bigger desire to win,” PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu told Canal Plus. “The best thing, however, is that we stay in contact with Montpellier.”
Once again, Ancelotti fielded a team without a recognized striker as Brazilian Nene, usually a winger, was used as No. 9, with Menez and Javier Pastore to support him.
That trio proved too much for Marseille to handle as PSG took the lead after only six minutes when Menez volleyed home after Christophe Jallet fluffed his attempt into the path of the France winger.
However, the visitors imposed a patient, possessive pattern on the match, but failed to create clear chances as PSG held their one-goal advantage until the interval.
Marseille leveled just before the hour, when Andre Ayew headed home after being set up in the box by Loic Remy’s header, but they could not stay focused and conceded from the restart.
Alex beat Alou Diarra in the air to head home a corner kick and restore PSG’s advantage.
“We were strong, we played well. We were the strongest team, but we need to move on and go past this huge disappointment,” a dejected Jordan Ayew said.
Earlier, Stade Malherbe Caen moved out of the relegation zone and up to 16th with a 1-0 win against visiting Girondins de Bordeaux, while OGC Nice beat Lorient 2-0.
Additional reporting by Staff writer