PARIS - Olympique Marseille stayed top of Ligue 1 on goal difference from Girondins Bordeaux after goals from Mamadou Niang and Brandao earned a 2-0 win at Nice on Wednesday. Marseille, who have won their last seven away games, have 71 points with three matches left, the same as Bordeaux who won 2-1 at Valenciennes thanks to France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff's winner. At Nice's Stade du Ray, Marseille, gunning for their first trophy since they became French champions in 1992, were clearly the better side. They went ahead on 27 minutes when Niang unleashed a perfect low drive from just outside the box to beat Nice keeper David Ospina. Marseille put the result beyond doubt on the hour, Brandao heading home unmarked from a Taye Taiwo cross. Bordeaux got off to a shaky start at Valenciennes, going 1-0 down after 22 minutes when Gael Danic beat keeper Ulrich Rame from the spot after a Mathieu Chalme foul. Midfielder Fernando equalised seven minutes before the break with a powerful header and Gourcuff snatched all three points with a spectacular diving header from a Chalme cross with seven minutes remaining. Valenciennes finished with nine men after Siaka Tiene and Luigi Pieroni were sent off. Paris St Germain kept their Champions League hopes alive when a Mateja Kezman goal earned a 1-0 win at Le Mans. They stay fourth in the standings with 63 points, one behind Olympique Lyon, who beat Nantes 3-0 on Tuesday. The top two teams in Ligue 1 will qualify for the Champions League group stage, with the third-placed team going into the third preliminary round. Le Havre, France's oldest professional football club, were relegated to Ligue 2 after a 4-2 home defeat by St Etienne left them 12 points behind Les Verts, who hold the last safe spot in 17th place. "We knew we were condemned long before this game. We can't wait for this season to come to an end," Le Havre captain Nicolas Dieuze told TV channel Foot Plus.
13 May 2009
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