• New recruit Payet unable to save Marseille

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    METZ, France: Dimitri Payet made his Ligue 1 debut for Marseille on Friday (Saturday in Manila) but the star West Ham recruit’s appearance failed to pay off as his new employers lost 1-0 at Metz.

    The 29-year-old midfielder had come on to a standing ovation in Tuesday’s Cup tie against Lyon after 94 minutes with the game deadlocked 1-1 and heading into extra-time.

    Marseille went on to win that 2-1 to book their ticket in the semi-finals, but his presence failed to help Marseille’s fortunes this time.

    Olympique de Marseille’s French forward Dimitri Payet controls the ball during the French Ligue 1 football match between Metz (FCM) and Marseille (OM) on Saturday at Saint Symphorien stadium in Longeville-Les-Metz, eastern France. AFP PHOTO

    He was introduced by Marseille coach Rudia Garcia in the 55th minute for Bouna Sarr with Bafetimbi Gomis, who scored a hat-trick last time out, replacing Florian Thauvin.

    Seconds later Payet sent in a freekick headed in by Gomis only for the effort to be ruled offside.

    Marseille, who trounced Montpellier 5-1 last week, looked to be heading for a point until Yann Joufre scored for the hosts five minutes after taking the place of Opa N’Guette.

    This eighth defeat of the season left Marseille in sixth, with Metz climbing out of the relegation zone.

    Payet rejoined the Ligue 1 side on a four-and-a-half-year deal last Sunday after Marseille paid 30 million euros ($31.3 million, £25 million) to bring him back to the Stade Velodrome.

    Marseille also signed veteran Patrice Evra, injured for this outing, on a free transfer from Juventus.

    On Saturday, free-scoring Monaco led by Radamel Falcao and Mario Balotelli’s slick Nice side clash at the top of French Ligue 1.

    Early pacesetters Nice have faltered of late allowing Monaco to move top of the table on goal difference on 49 points, with champions Paris Saint-Germain lurking in third on 46 ahead of their trip to Dijon.

    AFP

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