Marseille, Lille score Ligue 1 victories


Thu, Sep 26, 2013 - Page 18

Olympique de Marseille put their recent patchy form behind them to beat AS Saint-Etienne 2-1 at the Stade Velodrome in Ligue 1 on Tuesday evening.

After a fine start to the season, l’OM went four matches without a win in all competitions before hosting les Verts.

Saint-Etienne have not won in Marseille since August 1979 — when Michel Platini was among the scorers — and their miserable record in the fixture was extended as they failed to fully recover from the concession of two first-half goals.

Elie Baup’s side came flying out of the blocks and opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Benjamin Mendy connected with a Mathieu Valbuena cross from the right, his shot bouncing over Stephane Ruffier and into the net.

The young fullback’s first Ligue 1 goal was followed by a first top-flight goal for midfielder Giannelli Imbula four minutes later.

Imbula slotted low past Ruffier from a Rod Fanni cross at the end of a fine Marseille move to leave Saint-Etienne facing a second straight defeat.

The visitors were handed a lifeline just after the half-hour mark when Alaixys Romao was harshly adjudged to have handled a Yohan Mollo cross right on the edge of the area and Faouzi Ghoulam stepped up to slot the penalty past Steve Mandanda in goal.

However, they could not find an equalizer and might have lost by more goals, with Ruffier notably saving two Valbuena efforts before the interval.

The win takes Marseille above Saint-Etienne and provisionally into second place behind league leaders Monaco on goal-difference, before the unbeaten principality club were to host SC Bastia yesterday.

Earlier on Tuesday, LOSC Lille Metropole followed up their weekend 2-0 win at Sochaux-Montbeliard with a convincing 3-0 home victory against Evian Thonon Gaillard.

Salomon Kalou’s neat back-flick turned a Florent Balmont shot into the net to give Lille an early lead in France’s far north, before the unfortunate Jesper Hansen then scored an own-goal 32 minutes in.

The Danish goalkeeper, who was making his Ligue 1 debut, did well to tip a Nolan Roux header onto the bar, but the ball ricocheted off him and into the net to make it 2-0.

Ronny Rodelin then took advantage of poor defending to seal the victory in the second half.

Among the other games to be played yesterday, defending champions Paris Saint-Germain, who trail Monaco by two points, were to face struggling Valenciennes without injured captain Thiago Silva.