Sun, Feb 10, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Balotelli finds net again as Marseille triumph at DFCO

AP, DIJON, France

FSV Mainz 05’s Daniel Brosinski, left, challenges Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt for control of the ball in their Bundesliga match in Mainz, Germany, on Friday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Mario Balotelli’s second goal in three games on Friday helped Olympique de Marseille to a 2-1 victory at Dijon FCO in Ligue 1.

The Italy striker, who joined last month from OGC Nice, turned the ball in from close range in the 57th minute after winger Florian Thauvin headed on a corner from the right.

Marseille’s second straight victory moved the side up to fifth ahead of this weekend’s matches and also took some pressure off coach Rudi Garcia following a poor run of results.

While Balotelli was the team’s most dangerous player, a handling error from veteran goalkeeper Steve Mandanda led to Dijon’s 18th-minute opener.

Although Mandanda covered his near post to smother defender Fouad Chafik’s long-range shot, he did not push the ball away far enough and midfielder Jordan Marie followed up to drive it home.

Balotelli leveled before Argentine forward Lucas Ocampos produced a well-taken goal in the 73rd, cleverly cutting inside a defender on the edge of the area and curling the ball into the top corner.

LA LIGA

AP, MADRID

Villarreal remained winless in 10 consecutive La Liga matches after a 0-0 draw at 14th-place Valladolid on Friday.

The visitors, who are used to finishing much higher in the standings, stayed second from bottom with three victories from 23 games.

It was Villarreal’s second straight draw since rehiring coach Javi Calleja in place of Luis Garcia Plaza, less than two months after he was fired.

“We have to keep trying,” Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo said. “I think we played a disciplined match and there are positive things we can take from it.”

Villarreal face two tough matches next: at home against Sevilla and away to Atletico Madrid.

BUNDESLIGA

Reuters, BERLIN

Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Friday scored four times in an explosive first half to crush hosts FSV Mainz 05 5-1 in the Bundesliga and continue their rise up the standings under new coach Peter Bosz.

The Dutchman, whose team beat league champions Bayern Munich last week, took over at the start of this year and his attack-minded Leverkusen have now won three of their four league games under him.

Wendell opened their account after five minutes, and despite an equalizer from Robin Quaison four minutes later, the visitors struck another three times before the break through Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and Karim Bellarabi.

Germany international Brandt, who has blossomed under Bosz, then added his second goal in the 64th minute from yet another Kevin Volland assist.

Leverkusen, who have now scored a combined 11 goals in their past three league games, climbed to fifth place on 33 points, four behind RB Leipzig who were fourth.

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