Marseille top after thrashing Montpellier

PARIS - Olympique Marseille took over at the top of Ligue 1 with a convincing 4-0 win over fellow title contenders Montpellier on Saturday.

Champions Marseille have 25 points and lead the way on goal difference from Lille who drew 1-1 at Girondins Bordeaux and now stand a point ahead of Montpellier.

Stade Rennes could have taken over first place but instead slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Lorient whose success was fashioned by goals from Alaixys Romao and Jeremy Morel.

That result leaves Rennes in fifth spot, two points behind Marseille and level with Bordeaux.

It was one-way traffic on Saturday for Marseille who, having secured a place in the Champions League last 16 in midweek, wasted little time opening the scoring against Montpellier with playmaker Lucho Gonzalez's volley in the 20th minute.

Midfielder Benoit Cheyrou added a second goal eight minutes later with a large slice of luck as his shot was deflected off two Montpellier players to deceive the goalkeeper.

Marseille's diminutive France midfielder Mathieu Valbuena also found the net in the second half before Loic Remy completed the convincing victory in stoppage time.


Marseille had goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to thank for preserving a clean sheet with several outstanding saves.

"After our very good performance on Tuesday, it was important to do it again here," Marseille coach Didier Deschamps told French TV channel Foot Plus.

The only sour note for the champions was that defender Cesar Azpilicueta picked up a knee injury in the early stages and could be out for the rest of the campaign.

"It is very serious," Deschamps said. "I think he damaged a ligament and that his season is over."

In Bordeaux, Lille could only come away with a 1-1 draw as they slipped of the top into second placein the standings.

Ligue 1 leading scorer Moussa Sow opened the scoring for lille in the 37th minute after being set up by a beautiful Adil Rami backheel following a corner that was not cleared.

However, Rami went from hero to villain just after the break when he put through his own net to bring Bordeaux level.

"There was room to do better," said Bordeaux defender Michael Ciani. "We should have scored in the first half.

"We were not aggressive enough... But we are still only two points adrift of the top." Bordeaux are sixth with 23 points.

Valenciennes beat basement club Arles-Avignon 3-0 while Nancy drew 1-1 with St Etienne in other matches.

The game between Stade Brest and RC Lens was abandoned in the second half because of heavy snow in Brittany.