Marseille back on track
Last Updated: 24/09/13 10:59pm
Mathieu Valbuena: Helped Marseille to victory
Marseille ended a run of four games without a win as they hung on to see off St Etienne 2-1.
All three goals came in the space of 11 first-half minutes, with Benjamin Mendy and Giannelli Imbula giving Marseille an early 2-0 lead before Faouzi Ghoulam pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute.
Given Marseille's recent frustrations, nerves set in as they missed a series of chances to kill the game off, but they did enough to take three points which put them level with leaders Monaco, at least until Wednesday evening.
Marseille scored with their first clear chance, Mathieu Valbuena crossing and Mendy taking advantage of some sloppy defending to fire a left-footed shot home in the 22nd minute.
Four minutes later, Rod Fanni's cross from the right allowed Imbula to rifle home a left-footed volley.
If it seemed all too easy, St Etienne soon cut the deficit after Alaixys Romao handled inside the area, and Ghoulam's well-struck penalty was too powerful for Steve Mandanda.
Marseille had chances to consolidate their lead once more before the break, but Stephane Ruffier twice saved from Valbuena, going full-stretch to keep out a curling free-kick before a more straightforward block from close range.
St Etienne threatened again the second half as Kurt Zouma headed narrowly wide in the 53rd minute.
But when Zouma went close again in the 69th minute, it was an own goal he was close to scoring, Ruffier making a great save to keep the ball out.
There were more nervous moments for Marseille in the 83rd minute when Franck Tabanou's cross caused chaos, but Mandanda blocked on the line to preserve the lead.
That proved St Etienne's last chance however, with Andre Ayew close to adding to the lead with a late piledriver that Ruffier pushed away for a corner.
French Ligue 1
|1||Paris St Germain||38||89|
|14||Evian Thonon Gaillar||38||44|