Tue, Sep 25, 2012 - Page 18 News List

LIGUE 1: Marseille win to record best start since 1960-196

Reuters, PARIS

LOSC Lille Metropole’s Nolan Roux, right, scores against Olympique Lyonnais in their Ligue 1 match at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Olympique de Marseille became the first Ligue 1 club in more than 50 years to win their first six league games when they beat Evian Thonon Gaillard 1-0 on Sunday.

Morgan Amalfitano headed home in the 33rd minute to lift Marseille to 18 points, four ahead of second-placed Olympique Lyonnais, who drew 1-1 at LOSC Lille Metropole thanks to a late Lisandro Lopez equalizer.

Lille, who won the title in 2010-2011, are 12th on seven points having won only one of their opening six league games.

Marseille are the first team to win their six first league games since Monaco completed the feat at the start of the 1960-1961 season. Monaco went on to be crowned champions at the end of that campaign.

Three days after a tightly contested UEFA Europa League draw at Turkish side Fenerbahce, Marseille were visibly tired and struggled to create chances against 17th-placed Evian.

“It was a tough game, we paid for the effort we put it on Thursday,” captain Steve Mandanda told French TV. “We won with our heads and our hearts. We have been showing a lot of solidarity since the season started, but there is still a long way to go in the league.”

Marseille went ahead with their first clear-cut chance, when Amalfitano headed home a neat Mathieu Valbuena free-kick.

The midfielder then missed the chance to double the lead when he sent another header narrowly wide three minutes later.

The hosts were made to work hard after the break as Evian laid siege to Mandanda’s goal, but an impressive rearguard display by defender Nicolas Nkoulou helped keep the visitors at bay.

France’s reserve goalkeeper did well to save a powerful Jonathan Mensah header with nine minutes remaining to maintain Marseille’s perfect start to the campaign.

Lyon are now four points adrift at the top of the table after drawing with Lille, who were hoping to bounce back after their shock 3-1 home loss to Belarus’ BATE Borisov in their UEFA Champions League opener on Wednesday last week.

Frontman Nolan Roux put Lille in front in the seventh minute when he poked the ball in from close range after Ryan Mendes had miscued a Mathieu Debuchy pass.

Lille dominated, but lacked the cutting edge to double their lead.

Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre saved a Mendes shot on the stroke of halftime and superbly parried Dimitri Payet’s neat back-heel on 57 minutes.

Lisandro eventually leveled for Lyon with 10 minutes to play with a stunning long-range goal to frustrate Lille, who also wasted a one-goal lead in their last league game at bottom club ES Troyes AC.

Girondins de Bordeaux drew for the fourth consecutive time in Ligue 1 after a stoppage-time goal by substitute Chahir Belghazouani secured AC Ajaccio a point in a 2-2 draw.

Belghazouani chested the ball down to strike the last-gasp equalizer past goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso.

Bordeaux, who have not lost a league game since early April, are sixth on 10 points from six games. Ajaccio climbed up to 13th on six points.

Laborious Bordeaux did not create a single chance in the first half, three days after thrashing Club Brugge KV 4-0 in their UEFA Europa League group-stage opener.

Centerback Henrique and forward Yoan Gouffran both headed home after the break to put the hosts in front, but Ajaccio twice recovered thanks to Ricardo Faty and Belghazouani.

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