Andre-Pierre Gignac gets double as leader Marseille routs Reims
PARIS — Striker Andre-Pierre Gignac continued his excellent form with two more goals as French league leader Marseille romped to a 5-0 win at Reims on Tuesday and moved provisionally three points clear at the top.
Gignac scored both goals in the first half, with Ghana winger Andre Ayew grabbing two after the break and midfielder Giannelli Imbula completing Marseille’s fifth straight victory.
”When you win five games in a row in style, then of course it’s satisfying,” Gignac said. ”We’ve got a big game coming up at home to Saint-Etienne this weekend. We must keep going like this because all of us want to make up for last season.”
Marseille finished sixth last season – 29 points behind champion Paris Saint-Germain – and lost all six of its Champions League group games.
Gignac’s early Marseille career saw him blighted by weight problems and teased after joining the club in 2010. Now he looks razor-sharp and is thriving under the strict training regime of new coach Marcelo Bielsa.
He has scored eight goals in seven matches and is pushing for a place in France’s squad for next month’s matches against Portugal and Armenia. Coach Didier Deschamps will announce the squad next week.
Toulouse won 3-0 at Rennes in Tuesday’s other match to move up to seventh place.
Serbian striker Aleksandar Pesic got his first goal of the season to put the visitors ahead in the 42nd, and defender Fallou Diagne scored an own goal in the 57th before Wissam Ben Yedder got his fourth of the campaign.
Second-place Bordeaux and third-place Saint-Etienne – separated by goal difference – are three points behind Marseille and play each other on Thursday night.
Gignac could have had three goals in the first half, but missed a penalty in the seventh minute. But he made amends a minute later with a firm downward header from Benjamin Mendy’s cross and got his second in the 20th, pouncing to head past Placide after he had saved Florian Thauvin’s shot.
Gignac’s presence in the penalty area was such that he inadvertently stopped a possible third goal, when Mendy’s shot hit his shin and flew wide.
Ayew got his first goals of the season by heading in defender Brice Djadjedje’s cross in the 52nd and flicking the ball home seven minutes later after substitute goalkeeper Kossi Agassa beat away Thauvin’s shot.
Agassa was powerless to stop the fifth, as Imbula’s shot from 25 yards out bounced just before he could get to it in the 74th.
Since losing 2-0 at home to Montpellier last month, Marseille has kept four clean sheets in five games and is looking like a serious threat to PSG’s bid for a third straight title.
Bielsa, however, remains circumspect.
”It’s too early to speak about the title. We have to play like this the whole time,” he said. ”You can’t draw conclusions after one part of the season.”
Fifth-place PSG travels to play Caen on Wednesday night without top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has a left heel injury and needs to rest for at least two days.