Marseille grab late win as French race for second heats up

Monaco dropped points at home against struggling Lorient

Strasbourg's French forward Kevin Gameiro (C) scored his fifth goal in four consecutive games Creator: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER

Arkadiusz Milik came off the bench to score the winner as Marseille edged Metz 2-1 to consolidate their second place in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain remain runaway leaders on 59 points after their 1-0 win over Rennes on Friday.

Marseille have 46 points and their south coast rivals Nice are third on 42 after a 2-0 defeat at Lyon on Saturday.

With 14 games still to play in Ligue 1 Marseille have just a four-point cushion over Nice in the race for the second automatic Champions League spot.

Marseille opened the scoring at northern side Metz through Congolese forward Cedric Bakumba on 26 minutes before Cameroon's Habib Maiga equalised on 52.

But when Milik replaced Bakumba it took the Poland striker just six minutes to bang home a rebound and clinch three valuable points.

Milik scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win at Angers last weekend, but started from the bench Sunday.

"We are happy with the four points lead on Nice, but there's a long way to go," warned Milik. "I enjoyed scoring, but the win was what counted."

Earlier Sunday, Kevin Gameiro scored the only goal as Strasbourg beat Angers 1-0 to boost their Champions League ambitions while Monaco missed another chance to keep touch with the leaders after a goalless draw at home against lowly Lorient.

Victory at Angers propelled Julien Stephan's Strasbourg just one point behind third-placed Nice.

Gameiro's superb volley after 11 minutes was enough to seal the three points giving the former Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla and Valencia striker his fifth goal in four league matches.

Monaco stalled at their Louis-II Stadium, a week after losing 2-0 to Lyon, with this latest setback keeping Philippe Clement's team in sixth, sandwiched between Rennes and Lyon, on the same number of points. 

The Principality side could have moved up to fifth with a win against Lorient who arrived on a run of seven consecutive away defeats in the league.

"We lacked efficiency in front of the goal," said Clement. "It's always difficult to play against Lorient, who have proven themselves against Lens and PSG in recent weeks. 

"The standings? It's always the same! We have to stay focused on ourselves and do the maximum to win."

Lorient remain just above the relegation zone, equal on points with Saint-Etienne, who moved off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Clermont, being replaced by Bordeaux who lost 3-2 at Lens.

"We bent, but we did not break," rejoiced Lorient coach Christophe Pelissier. 

Nantes pocketed a 1-0 victory over Reims, whose central defender and captain Yunis Abdelhamid was sent off in the first quarter of an hour for a nasty tackle on Fabio. 

Moses Simon slotted in the resulting free kick, leaving the Canaries ninth, a point behind eighth-placed Lens.

Cedric Hountondji gave Clermont the lead against Saint-Etienne just before the break but Mahdi Camara equalised after 71 minutes and Timothee Kolodziejczak scored the winner eight minutes from time. 

Clermont are 15th, three points ahead of Troyes, who crashed 5-1 at mid-table Brest. 

Uruguayan striker Martin Satriano, on loan from Italian champions Inter Milan, scored a first half brace for the Bretons, with Franck Honorat grabbing two more after the break.

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