Relief for Villas-Boas as Marseille down Lille
Marseille took advantage of two comical defensive mix-ups to secure a 2-1 win at home to Lille on Saturday that sent them up to third in Ligue 1 and alleviated some of the pressure on coach Andre Villas-Boas.
Morgan Sanson stroked home the opening goal on 48 minutes after Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan spilled a cross following a hefty collision with team-mate Gabriel.
The Brazilian centre-back unwittingly gifted Marseille a second goal 11 minutes from time when Valentin Rongier's tame shot struck Dario Benedetto before Adama Soumaoro's attempted headed clearance struck Gabriel and looped in off the post.
Lille captain Soumaoro rose magnificently to nod in a corner to give the visitors hope but Marseille held on to move level with second-place Nantes on 19 points.
It was just a second win in seven league outings for Marseille and the ideal tonic for a team dumped out the League Cup in midweek following a display branded "shameful" by Villas-Boas.
That 2-1 loss at Monaco followed a 4-0 humbling away to Paris Saint-Germain, a defeat which left OM winless in 16 Ligue 1 meetings with their greatest rivals.
"I think we deserved the win. We played with everything we'd been missing the past two matches," said Villas-Boas.
"We spoke (this week). We were all frustrated because we played two good second halves, which shows we're capable of doing it. It just needs to be applied for 90 minutes."
As for Lille, Christophe Galtier's side have not won away from home in the league since March and missed the opportunity to reduce the gap to leaders PSG.
The defending champions suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Dijon, who started the weekend at the foot of the table, on Friday with coach Thomas Tuchel accusing his expensively-assembled team of "being too passive and not playing together".
It was the third loss of the season for PSG who could also see their lead at the top trimmed to just five points by the end of the weekend.
Saturday's evening clash between Nimes and Rennes was postponed due to heavy rain.
Â© 2019 AFP