Marseille keep heat on Lyon
Last Updated: 02/12/12 8:20pm
Bernard Mendy gives chase to Morgan Amalfitano
Marseille earned an impressive result in north-west France on Sunday afternoon, beating Brest 2-1 to keep the heat on Ligue 1 leaders Lyon.
Having been drubbed 4-1 by the team they are chasing in midweek, Elie Baup's men needed to show they had the qualities needed for a title fight today and they did just that at the Stade Francis-Le Ble.
As a result of the win, given to them by goals from Souleymane Diawara and Andre Ayew either side of a Charlison Benschop equaliser, they are two points behind Lyon at the top of the ladder.
Both goal were set up by Joey Barton, with the one-time England midfielder continuing to impress away from the Premier League spotlight.
The lead duo have a five- and three-point buffer to the chasing pack now, with St Etienne and Paris St Germain down on 26 points.
There was no doubting that Marseille deserved it today, either, as they made the better start and ensured they made it count.
Home stopper Alexis Thebaux was worked early on when Morgan Amalfitano got a header on target, and he was in action again not longer after as he needed both hands to deny Benoit Cheyrou. Mathieu Valbuena was unfortunate to see his rebound effort go wide.
The pressure continued and Jordan Ayew released brother Andre, but he was unable to display the necessary accuracy.
Jordan Ayew and Barton tried to keep the pressure up, both getting strikes in before, with 34 minutes on the clock, Barton headed the ball into the path of Diawara whose first-time shot cracked in off the inside of a post.
It would have been two a minute later were it not for Thebaux's brilliant reaction to strikes from Amalfitano and Valbuena before, somehow, with three minutes of the half left, Benschop put Brest level with their first effort.
It was not the cleanest goal seen, with Paul Baysse's knockdown finding Benoit Lesoimier, his shot being hacked away by Jeremy Morel but only into the path of the waiting Benschop, but it did give Brest something at the interval.
Normal service was resumed after the break, though, with Thebaux denying Barton with his feet, before the Englishman kept his composure to square for the waiting Andre Ayew for what would prove to be a 56th-minute winner.
Lesoimier did try and respond by forcing Steve Mandanda into a flying save, and Morel had to scramble a loose ball clear, but Marseille had done enough.
French Ligue 1
|1||Paris St Germain||38||89|
|14||Evian Thonon Gaillar||38||44|