Marseille extend run with fightback at Rennes

30 January 2012 10:51

Marseille dug deep to come from behind and win 2-1 at Rennes on Sunday, extending their winning run to seven games in all competitions and returning to within two points of the Champions League positions in Ligue 1.

Tongo Doumbia's long-range goal had given Rennes an early lead but Didier Deschamps' side turned the game around through an Onyekachi Apam own goal and a 77th-minute strike by Benoit Cheyrou to climb above Rennes into fifth place.

"We're on a very good run," said Deschamps. "We were never out of the match and when the pressure got less strong in the second half, we were able to play our football.

"We're still only fifth but we're going to fight until the end in the race for the Champions League."

Reports in France suggested Lucho Gonzalez was playing his last game for Marseille before rejoining Porto and he failed to distinguish himself in the 14th minute when he inadvertently set up Rennes' opening goal.

The Argentine was dispossessed in midfield and when the ball broke to Doumbia, the 22-year-old holding midfielder lashed home from 25 yards to claim his first league goal for the club.

Half-time was beckoning when Marseille drew level in fortuitous circumstances, with Loic Remy's left-wing cross deflected into his own net by the unwitting Apam.

Rennes introduced Mevlut Erding from the bench for his debut following his move from Paris Saint-Germain but it was OM who secured all three points thanks to a blunder from Rennes' 19-year-old goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo.

Cheyrou's rising shot from the edge of the box contained power but Diallo got a firm hand to the ball, only for it to loop behind him and bounce into the net.

Earlier, a fine injury-time goal from substitute Christian Kinkela saw Ajaccio win 2-1 at Valenciennes to claim their fourth straight Ligue 1 victory and drag themselves out of the relegation zone.

Ajaccio had seen Eduardo's sixth-minute opener cancelled out by Valenciennes forward Vincent Aboubakar before the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Paul Bastien Lasne was shown a second yellow card for diving.

Lasne's dismissal appeared to have ended Ajaccio's hopes of victory but in the second minute of added time, Congolese midfielder Kinkela drifted into the area from the right before curling an inch-perfect left-footed shot inside the far post.

Ajaccio had registered just one win in their first 17 games but Sunday's victory takes the Corsican side out of the bottom three for the first time since September.

"We're back in the race to stay up, but the hardest part is still to come," warned Ajaccio coach Olivier Pantaloni.

"From now on we'll be viewed in a different light and taken seriously."

The other afternoon kick-off between Evian and Bordeaux ended in a goalless draw, with Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso saving a second-half penalty from Yannick Sagbo after he had felled the Evian striker inside the penalty area.

The top four sides all won on Saturday, albeit in contrasting circumstances.

Leaders PSG ground out a 1-0 win at Brest courtesy of a scruffy Milan Bisevac goal in the first half to remain three points clear of Montpellier, who needed a last-minute goal from Olivier Giroud to prevail 1-0 at Nice.

Nolan Roux scored twice on his debut for third-placed Lille as the champions breezed past Saint-Etienne 3-0, while Lyon, fourth, required a pair of late strikes from Bafetimbi Gomis and Alexandre Lacazette to see off Dijon 3-1.

The preservation of the status quo means that Lille remain seven points behind PSG and four points shy of Montpellier, with Lyon a point further back.

Source: AFP