Marseille sail to victory as PSG sink

20th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 19 (AFP) - Marseille continued their resurgence in the French top flight with a lucky 1-0 away victory at Bastia on Saturday which left them in provisional second spot.

PARIS, Feb 19 (AFP) - Marseille continued their resurgence in the French top flight with a lucky 1-0 away victory at Bastia on Saturday which left them in provisional second spot.

Marseille sit six points behind league leaders and reigning champions Lyon, who drew 1-1 with Monaco on Friday, although Lille can regain second place if they take full honours from their away match to Metz on Sunday.

Fabien Barthez started and finished the match in the Marseille goal, despite the France international facing the scorn of his club of late because of a spitting incident which marred a match against Wydad Casablanca in Morocco last week.

Barthez had little work to do against the struggling Corsicans, whose latest defeat left them five points above bottom side Istres ahead of their Sunday match against Auxerre.

In the 19th minute the shaven-headed keeper was happy to see a shot from Youssouf Hadji fly over the bar after the Bastia midfielder had pounced on a bad clearance.

Two minutes later Stephane Ziani, with 367 matches the most experienced top flight player still playing, unleashed a shot which Barthez saved easily.

Until then Marseille had created little in the way of scoring chances, and it took until late in the second half for Philippe Troussier's title contenders to take a cheeky lead.

Despite Bastia's insistent play, Marseille won a free kick against the run of play in the 63rd minute.

Midfielder Benoit Pedretti latched on to the quickly taken free kick to dribble past a couple of defenders and float the ball of 25 metres past Nicolas Penneteau and into the roof of his net.

Bastia's subsequent efforts proved to be in vain, and as Marseille stretched their unbeaten run away from home to sixth matches it was the Corsicans' 13th defeat of the season and their fifth at home.

Earlier Paris St Germain's battle for form was kept afloat with a 3-1 defeat away to on-form Strasbourg.

PSG, who have only won six games this term, welcomed their new coach Alain Fournier last week after the sacking of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, and briefly their fortunes lifted.

But following last week's 3-1 extra time Cup win against Bordeaux, Fournier will admit there's work to do after Strasbourg hit two first half time goals, and conceded a late own goal after having gone 3-0 up in the second half. PSG were never at the races against a side who have scored eight goals in their last two games, and conceded only one. The capital side's own record does not say much - their last win was on December 18.

Star striker Pauleta missed a penalty and a chance to reduce arrears after Mamadou Niang had scored the opener for Strasbourg in the 20th minute but the Portuguese international hit his spot kick high over the bar.

Strasbourg did not make the same mistake when the referee whistled for a penalty after Bernard Mendy brought down Pascal Johansen. Midfielder Mickael Pagis beat PSG keeper Lionel Letzi to give the hosts a 2-0 half time lead.

The hosts virtually made sure of all three points just after the hour mark when Yacine Abdessadki finished off a counter-attacking move with a strike which beat Letizi from 20 metres.

PSG struggled to find the opening that would lead to a dramatic fightback, their only consolation coming when Strasbourg Guillaume Lacour had the displeasure of scoring into his own net in the 85th minute.


Subject: French News

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