Ligue 1: Marseille squeeze past nine-man Toulouse
PARIS (AFP) –
Andre-Pierre Gignac’s first goal since his return from injury guided Marseille to a 1-0 win over nine-man Toulouse, as Elie Baup’s side pulled level with Ligue 1 leaders Lyon on Saturday.
Gignac struck the game’s only goal on 68 minutes after the hosts had Cheikh M’Bengue and Franck Tabanou dismissed during the first half at Stade Municipal.
“I remember the victory firstly (as opposed to the goal). We had two favourable refereeing decisions which helped make the task easier. We have 35 points and are back level with Lyon, we can say that all is well,” said Gignac.
Victory for Marseille means they now only trail Lyon on goal difference, with the table-toppers in action against title-rivals Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Toulouse were dealt a sixth defeat in eight as their poor run of form has seen them plummet to 12th in the standings.
M’Bengue received a harsh straight red card for a lunge on Morgan Amalfitano on 25 minutes, while Toulouse goalkeeper Ali Ahamada saved a first-half penalty from Andre Ayew after Tabanou had impeded Jordan Ayew.
The home side were then reduced to nine men as Tabanou was sent off for a rash challenge from behind on Andre Ayew on the stroke of half-time, as Ahamada produced a couple of excellent saves from Joey Barton and Lucas Mendes to keep it goalless at the interval.
Ahamada added second-half substitute Gignac to the list of players he had foiled after the striker’s shot took a deflection off Aymen Abdennour, but the former Toulouse man finally broke the deadlock on 68 minutes.
Gignac, who made a late cameo appearance in Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Bastia after two months out with a foot fracture, cut in from the left and sent a superb curling effort into the top corner that finally broke Ahamada’s impressive resistance.
Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda then made an acrobatic save to keep out Jonathan Zebina’s close-range header, as Ahamada kept the home side in the game by twice preventing Loic Remy from increasing the visitors’ lead.
Emmanuel Riviere was presented with a chance to salvage a point for Toulouse deep into stoppage-time, but Mandanda clawed away his near-post attempt to preserve Marseille’s slender advantage.
“I remember the victory firstly. We had two favourable refereeing decisions which helped make the task easier. We have 35 points and are back level with Lyon, we can say that all is well.