Olympique de Marseille kept their perfect start to the Ligue 1 season going on Sunday as a Jordan Ayew header, finishing off an assist from brother Andre, secured a fifth straight success in a 1-0 win at AS Nancy-Lorraine — a club record for the start of the season.
Olympique Lyonnais had briefly taken over pole position earlier in the day after a 2-0 win over AC Ajaccio achieved courtesy of goals from Dejan Lovren and Lisandro.
The win was Lyon’s fourth in five matches and it moved the eastern side onto 13 points from five games, but Marseille went two points clear after Jordan Ayew connected powerfully with a cross from his sibling eight minutes after the restart.
Cameroon goalkeeper Guy Ndy Assembe did his utmost to keep 2010 champions Marseille at bay as the visitors attacked at will. He made a pair of fine stops from Andre-Pierre Gignac in the early stages and when it seemed an Andre Ayew effort had him beaten, Vincent Muratori saved the day on the line.
Nancy scrapped hard and visiting goalkeeper Steve Mandanda did well to preserve his clean sheet and Marseille’s lead as he saved a meaty free-kick on the hour from Yohan Mollo.
Marseille joined AS Monaco, Girondins de Bordeaux and Metz as the only sides in French league history to post five wins in the opening five league games. It was also their fifth straight success at Nancy.
It was a case of deja vu for the former European champions’ coach, Elie Baup, who was at the helm of that Bordeaux side in 1999 and the Girondins went on to lift the crown.
For Nancy, it was a third straight defeat and they are now fourth from bottom.
Lyon thanked Clement Grenier’s corner routine for Lovren’s headed opener in the 25th minute and former Fulham man Steed Malbranque then fed Lisandro for a rasping second.
Team P GD PTS
1 Olympique de Marseille 5 7 15
2 Olympique Lyonnais 5 7 13
3 Lorient 5 5 11
4 Paris Saint-Germain 5 3 9
5 Girondins de Bordeaux 5 2 9
6 Valenciennes 5 3 8
7 Toulouse 5 0 8
8 Stade de Reims 5 1 7
9 AC Ajaccio 5 -2 7
10 AS Saint-Etienne 5 4 6
11 OGC Nice 5 1 6
12 LOSC Lille Metropole 5 0 6
13 SC Bastia 5 -5 6
14 Stade Brestois 29 5 -5 6
15 Evian Thonon Gaillard 5 -1 4
16 Montpellier Herault 5 -2 4
17 AS Nancy-Lorraine 5 -4 4
18 Stade Rennais 5 -4 3
19 Sochaux-Montbeliard 5 -5 3
20 ES Troyes AC 5 -5 2
“We turned in a serious showing tonight,” Lyon coach Remi Garde said. “I really enjoyed the first half — not conceding a goal is the foundation.”
Corsican outfit Ajaccio were deducted two points over incidents during an encounter with Lyon last season and were unable to pull back some of that deficit on Sunday as they finished well beaten.
New signing Adrian Mutu, formerly of Juventus and Chelsea, was unable to make a difference in attack, only earning a yellow card for his efforts.
Earlier, nine-man Lorient won 2-1 at 10-man Stade Rennais in a card-strewn Brittany derby to climb to third and leave their local rivals in the bottom three.
Burkina Faso midfielder Alain Traore was the visitors’ match-winner, putting Lorient ahead with a fine long-range lob in the 23rd minute and extending their lead just before halftime with a ferocious free-kick.
Lorient had Maxime Baca sent off for a two-footed lunge at Jonathan Pitroipa in the 31st minute and then saw goalkeeper Fabien Audard dismissed for a foul on the same player eight minutes into the second half.
Pitroipa reduced the arrears in the 71st minute, but Rennes’ momentum was clipped seven minutes later when substitute Cheick Diarra saw red for an foul on Traore.