Olympique de Marseille’s 2-0 away win at Nimes Olympique on Friday saw them climb to second at the top of Ligue 1 with a game in hand on all of their closest rivals.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are at the top of the table on 25 points, with Marseille a point behind and four clubs — Lille OSC, Olympique Lyonnais, AS Monaco and Montpellier Herault — all on 23.
After a defeat and a draw in their past two games, PSG faced the prospect of being knocked off the top spot with a tough away clash at Montpellier yesterday, while fellow front-runners Lille and Monaco face off today.
After the weekend, Marseille is to have two games in hand on all of them, and a UEFA Champions League game with Manchester City coming up in the middle of the week.
“This group is starting to show some collective force,” Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas said. “We have got our confidence back, and we can have a go at Monaco and Rennes in our coming games.”
Argentina’s Dario Benedetto got Marseille’s opener on Friday with a classic center-forward’s control on the chest and a flying snap-shot, as the former Boca Juniors forward produced a second goal from consecutive outings after a 15-match personal dry patch.
Nimes were down to 10 players before Valere Germain wrapped up the precious three away points.
Hertha BSC replacement striker Krzysztof Piatek scored two goals in three second-half minutes to seal a 3-1 win over 10-player FC Union in the Bundesliga derby on Friday night.
“It’s an amazing feeling to get two goals in the derby,” Piatek told broadcaster DAZN.
Union’s eight-match unbeaten run came to an abrupt end behind closed doors at the Olympiastadion, as Hertha enjoyed their first home win this season.
Union played for more than an hour with 10 players after midfielder Robert Andrich was shown a straight red card for going into a challenge with his foot up.
Union took the lead when Nigeria striker Taiwo Awoniyi got between two defenders and hit the bottom corner of the net on 20 minutes.
However, Union were down to 10 players just three minutes later.
Andrich went into a tackle on Hertha midfielder Lucas Tousart with his foot up, making no attempt to pull out of the challenge.
It stayed 1-0 at the break, but the numerical disadvantage took its toll on Union as Piatek came off the bench at halftime and Hertha managed three unanswered goals.
They equalized when Matheus Cunha shot from range and although his shot was parried, right-back Peter Pekarik was on hand to tap home the rebound.
It was 2-0 on 74 minutes when Piatek’s shot deflected off defender Marvin Friedrich and wrong-footed Union goalkeeper Andreas Luthe.
Piatek grabbed his second in style 13 minutes from time when he smashed a volley past Luthe.
The visitors’ miserable night was summed up when Union’s Max Kruse limped off with a knee injury in stoppage-time.
The result lifts Hertha to 11th in the table, with Union sixth.
SWEEP THE LEG: Poirier, determined to best McGregor, after losing to him in 2014, used low calf kicks to throw ‘Notorious’ off his stand-up game, before dropping him American underdog Dustin Poirier yesterday shook up the world of mixed martial arts, beating up the legs of Irish superstar Conor McGregor before knocking him out at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. “I’m happy, but I’m not surprised. I put in the work,” Poirier said, after the referee stepped in after 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round to save McGregor from further damage, after he was dropped by a fierce combination of punches. The 32-year-old Poirier was ranked second in the flyweight division going into the fight, but still rated a heavy underdog by bookmakers to beat his fourth-ranked opponent,
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,