Payet scores as 2nd-place Marseille moves clear of Rennes
PARIS (AP) — Dimitri Payet scored his second spectacular goal of the week to help second-placed Marseille beat Toulouse 1-0 in the French league on Saturday and extend its unbeaten run to 16 games overall.
Marseille had the added bonus of strengthening its grip on second spot by moving eight points ahead of third-place Rennes, which drew at home to Brest 0-0.
Rennes was only one point ahead of fourth-placed Lille, which hosts Marseille next weekend. The team finishing second qualifies automatically for the Champions League, while the team in third goes through the qualifying rounds.
Payet’s stellar form is guiding Marseille back to Europe, and improving his chances of a France recall.
Having scored a fine individual goal against Saint-Etienne in midweek, he received a pass from Bouna Sarr and whipped a super 25-meter curler over the goalkeeper and into the top corner in the 51st minute.
Marseille was also indebted to goalkeeper Steve Mandanda’s stunning second-half save to keep out Belgian striker Aaron Leya Iseka’s close-range volley.
Payet was one of France’s best players at the European Championship four years ago, as his goals helped them reach the final. He missed the 2018 World Cup due to an injury but is pushing for a recall ahead of the Euro 2020.
Toulouse remained rooted in last place but confounded its status by taking the game to Marseille, hitting the post in the first minute through Leya Iseka. Another goal was disallowed in the 28th for the ball being out of play.
Wissam Ben Yedder netted his league-leading 16th goal with a typically clinical effort to equalize in the 85th minute, and strike partner Islam Slimani netted an injury-time winner from a Cesc Fabregas corner.
Bordeaux was one point behind Monaco in sixth spot after also rallying from a goal down to win 2-1 at Metz, for which midfielder Vincent Pajot was sent off after eight minutes.
Also, Nantes twice came from behind only to then need an injury time header from Brazilian defender Andrei Girotto to salvage a 3-3 draw at Dijon.
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