Andre-Pierre Gignac’s double fired Olympique de Marseille to a 2-0 win over relegation-bound Metz on Friday to boost the south coast giants’ prospects of competing in next season’s Champions League.
Gignac, out of contract at the end of the season, celebrated his 100th goal in the French top flight as the first half was drawing to a close, and then made inroads into his second century after the break.
Marseille had traveled north desperate to put a stop to a four-match losing streak.
And this timely change in fortunes moved them provisionally above AS Saint-Etienne on goal difference into fourth on 60 points, two points shy of AS Monaco occupying the third and final Champions League spot.
Coach Marcelo Bielsa was a relieved man, the Argentine saying: “It was really necessary to win here. While it’s still mathematically possible, we’ll retain hope of making third place.”
Seen as potential champions as recently as Christmas, Marseille’s Ligue 1 meltdown has been so dramatic that even lowly Metz were fancying their chances in the Friday night showdown.
However, Gignac, who on a busy night also picked up a yellow card for elbowing Metz defender Jeremy Choplin, put paid to that notion in style.
The in-form international striker had the visitors in control when pouncing on a mistake by Metz keeper Anthony Mfa, who dropped the ball he had caught safely with both hands off a corner after colliding with Metz defender Jose Luis Palomino.
A bungled attempt by Metz to avert the resulting danger ended up with Gignac turning deftly to shoot into an open goal with seven minutes of the first half to go.
He doubled up after the hour, Dimitri Payet the provider, to give Marseille renewed hope of a top-three finish.
Bielsa’s decision to start the 29-year-old in preference to the young Belgian Michy Batshuayi paid off handsomely.
For Metz, the loss at the Stade Municipal Saint-Symphorien left them second from bottom and almost certain to be relegated.
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being
FULL GAME: Henry Sosa pitched nine innings for the Guardians, allowing only six hits all night, while the Monkeys’ offense were also shut out of their game Outfielder Lin An-ko carried a big bat this week — before his Uni-President Lions ran into the Fubon Guardians last night — blasting four home runs, including a grand slam as his side won four games in a row and moved into second on the CPBL table. However, the Lions could not sustain their super-charged offense for the whole week, as they were shut out 4-0 by the Guardians in New Taipei City. Fubon’s rookie catcher, Jhang Jin-de, took a page from Lin’s playbook. With two men on, Jhang smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Henry Sosa of the Dominican Republic