Remy shines in Marseille’s victory

Marseille made up ground in the race for a Champions League spot by beating defending French champion Lille 2-0 on Sunday from two goals by Loic Remy.

The France forward outjumped Laurent Bonnart to head in a cross from Mathieu Valbuena in the 61st minute. Remy then dribbled past goalkeeper Mickael Landreau and defender Aurelien Chedjou to slot the ball into an empty net in the 83rd.

Marseille remained sixth but narrowed the gap to two points with third-place Lille in the last spot for the Champions League.

”We’ve been showing a different face for a while,” Remy said. ”We must keep this mindset. Now teams fear us a bit more when they are visiting us. That was not the case before.”

On Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain beat Toulouse 3-1 to keep a three-point lead over Montpellier atop the standings.

Also Saturday, it was: Ajaccio 2, Auxerre 1; Bordeaux 2, Valenciennes 1; Brest 1, Nice 0; Caen 0, Rennes 2; Dijon 3, Evian 1; Montpellier 1, Lyon 0; Nancy 2, Lorient 2 and Saint-Etienne 1, Sochaux 0.

Marseille dominated the first half but failed to convert its chances. Using his chest, Remy controlled a ball from over the top by Valbuena in the 21st and fired a low shot which Landreau stopped with his legs.

Chedjou blocked a close-range volley from Remy in the 27th, before Landreau parried another volley from Marseille midfielder Benoit Cheyrou in the 43rd.

Lille fought back in the second half. Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard slipped a through ball to Ireneusz Jelen, who could not beat goalkeeper Steve Mandanda with a tame effort in the 46th.

Marseille opened the scoring from Valbuena’s league-leading 10th assist.

Lille nearly equalized when Hazard dribbled past Nicolas N’Koulou to be clean through on goal in the 64th, but Mandanda dived to his left to deny the Belgium midfielder.

Remy pounced on a poor clearance from Idrissa Gueye to notch his ninth goal this season.

Marseille played without Senegal defender Souleymane Diawara, Burkina Faso midfielder Charles Kabore and Ghana forwards Andre and Jordan Ayew, who are all on international duty ahead of the African Cup of Nations.

Lille was without Senegal striker Moussa Sow, suspended fullback Mathieu Debuchy and injured defenders Franck Beria and Marko Basa.

”We’re disappointed because we don’t take any points with us – our unbeaten run ends,” Landreau said. ”It’s a pity because we wanted to extend it. Now we’ll have to bounce back quickly.”

Lille lost its first away match this season.