Cisse keeps Marseille Champions League dream alive
His strike on 83 minutes secured a vital win bonus and sealed a 3-2 victory at Monaco on Sunday.28 April 2008
PARIS - An opportunist goal from Djibril Cisse on Sunday preserved Marseille's chances of grabbing a slice of Champions League action next season as the former Liverpool man struck to seal a 3-2 victory at Monaco.
Cisse was a member of the Liverpool team which won the competition in 2005 but, prone to injury, struggled to hold down his place at Anfield and moved to Marseille a year later.
His strike on 83 minutes secured a vital win bonus for the southerners, who took advantage of Nancy's earlier 1-1 draw at Valenciennes to move into third spot by a point.
Although Cisse and company have no chance of overhauling second-placed Bordeaux third spot would be enough for a crack at the Champions League qualifiers.
Highly-rated 20-year-old Samir Nasri put Marseille ahead on 28 minutes with a firm strike past home keeper Flavio Roma after a neat through ball from Charles Kabore.
Monaco, still not entirely out of the relegation woods, levelled just before the hour mark when Nene nodded in but Nigerian Taye Taiwo clipped the visitors back in front inside four minutes after Albanian Lorik Cana's initial header from a corner came back off the upright.
A neat lob from Croatian star Jerko Leko in the 64th minute had Monaco back on terms but Cisse's alertness in a melee seven minutes from time for his 14th goal of the season clinched a quality contest.
Nancy had to make do with a point at Valenciennes when Johan Audel equalised for the hosts early in the second half after Pascal Berenguer had opened the scoring in the 10th minute.
"We can still do it. We are where we are on merit. We deserve third place in my view," insisted Nancy's Uruguayan coach Pablo Correa.
At the top, Lyon still await their seventh straight coronation after requiring a double from Karim Benzema to secure a 2-2 home draw Saturday with Caen, though Bordeaux failed to eat into a four-point deficit as Nice held them 0-0.
The champions-elect have been feeling the pressure, and in midweek chairman Jean-Michel Aulas threatened to pull Lyon out of the French Cup owing to what they see as an overcrowded fixtures programme - before Saturday night implying a second-string side would contest the match.
Elsewhere, Paris St Germain bolstered their chances of avoiding relegation with a 3-1 win over Auxerre courtesy of goals from Pedro Pauleta and a brace from Amara Diane while fellow strugglers Lens went down 3-2 at Le Mans.
Skipper Pauleta, now 34 and playing in his fifth and final season at the Parc des Princes, led by example, netting his 200th goal in France in all competitions with a fine strike before Diane notched his double.
Jean-Pascal Mignot scored a consolation for Auxerre.
PSG now stand level on 38 points with Lens, who have a superior goal difference of just one, and Toulouse, another two goals better off.
Lens' defeat was just one of four results which went PSG's way Saturday, including their own, as Strasbourg went down 3-0 at Rennes to stand three points adrift of safety and Toulouse lost 3-2 at Lille.
[AFP / Expatica]